13 October 2016

New runways should be chosen for both Heathrow and Gatwick.

Heathrow cargo soars in the wake of Britain’s Brexit vote (11-10-16) 
"Heathrow welcomed a record number of passengers in September, with 6.8 million travelling through the UK’s only hub airport"which means 75.36 million  pax over the previous 12 months.


Gatwick’s record growth and booming long haul services continue to defy Airports Commission predictions (10-10-16)
"In September, 4.3 million passengers travelled through the airport which is +6.9% on the same month in 2015. Gatwick now serves 42.3 million passengers a year – this is a milestone the Airports Commission forecast Gatwick would not reach until 2030."

and just to show that the other airports are not affected negatively............

Stansted tantalisingly close to pre-recession passenger numbers (12-10-16) 
"The total number of passengers using Stansted in the 12 months ending September reached 24,009,348, up 8.4 per cent on the previous year and just 6,000 short of the record high set in October 2007........During September, nearly 2.2 million passengers passed through Stansted, up seven per cent on the same month last year and the second busiest September ever for the airport."

A record 14 million passengers use London Luton over the last year(13-10-16)       ".....the rolling annual total of passengers using the airport passed the 14 million mark for the first time....The airport saw its 30th consecutive month of passenger growth in September...... a record 1.4 million passengers chose to fly from the UK gateway last month."

There is a lot of pent-up demand which cannot be completely satisfied under the present slot restricted regimes at the two principal airports.

This blogger has never hidden the fact that he firmly believes in a new runway at each of the two airports............

..............................................but under what conditions?
The government is said to be making its decision in the next few days. This is a resume of the salient points to be included. 




The plans have already been presented to the public, with the favourite alternative at LHR being the third runway to the north of the present runways and between the A437 Bath Road and the M4 Motorway.

Heathrow 3rd runway option over M25

Heathrow airport has its own website ("Heathrow the Right Choice") to explain its plans for expansion and a third runway.

 Musts: for the third runway
  • be between 3km and 3.5km. long x 45m. wide (to enable it to be used for up to large aircraft in exceptional circumstances when one of the others is closed. To be operated in mixed-mode for all the flights from its terminal so that there is no crossing of runways to the present terminals 2,3,4 and 5)
  • extend no further west than the M25 (with any planned widenings factored in) and far enough to the east so that the terminal can sit next to or above the new railway station below ground (thus excessive walking distances to public transport can be avoided)
  • have a dedicated terminal for all its flights (this used to be called T6 but could take the name T1 to replace the demolished terminal of that name) 
  • have a new railway station to be built underground to provide connections to the other terminals and central London (thus Crossrail and Heathrow Express can stop for passengers - to connect to the London Underground both HE as well as Crossrail trains would stop at Ealing Broadway)
  • be limited to medium and small jet aircraft plus turbo props (this could mean up to the size B737, A320 and similar plus exceptionally what is needed for flights to Israel if bigger).
  • be aircraft with low polluting thresholds (establishing strict limitation goals for the opening of the runway).
  • operate airside all vehicles of whatever type which are non-polluting. (no combustion-engined vehicles at all from the opening date)
  • be for British Isles and other island flights plus Benlux destinations (so that every British and Irish destination is served if so desired - this can be extended to the flights of other countries like Israel and Switzerland. This can be further refined to include other European island countries such as Iceland, Malta, Cyprus and the Faroes)
  • operate strict hours to be established for normal operations but flexible enough to vary slightly in exceptional circumstances (this would include the ability of operators to reposition aircraft when affected by e.g.adverse weather conditions)
  • establish a clear short-term timetable for these anti-pollution measures and the operating hours to be applied in the rest of the airport airside, and then to be extended to the whole airport within a generation.(this would include cars, taxis, buses, coaches and commercial vehicles unless they used non-polluting propulsion and thus promote the use of public transport)
  • the financing of any expansion in the airport is the sole responsibility of the airport itself (the government will only finance complementary infrastructure outside the airport boundary where necessary - this will encourage the airport to make the investment without expensive embellishments)
  • Reinstate a modified Cranford Agreement about the alternating use of the north(actual but future central runway) and south runways which was abolished in 2010
  • Start planning and programming the connection by new railway line from Reading to Heathrow to Gatwick, and the extension from Gatwick to Ashford so as to be able able to provide direct rail services to mainland Europe, to be completed by 2030 (insofar as these works affect the airport).
  • demand that Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd. redraws its plans for a third runway so as to make it less unnecessarily complex and intrusive thus reducing the cost.(e.g. are so many taxiways needed in their latest plans?)
  • combine the Heathrow Express services with the Stansted Express services so that passengers from both can enter into central London without having to disembark at their terminal stations, and access can be direct between the two airports.



has been London´s second airport for many decades but is growing at such a rate that a second runway is considered necessary for future development.
The placement of the additional runway will affect fewer townships/villages than at Heathrow. The construction can be started after the end of the limiting agreement with West Sussex Council which runs out in mid 2019.
The runway can be built and operative before the new terminal is opened.  
Gatwick airport with second runway and third terminal.

Gatwick aiport has an extensive website (here) to explain its design on expansion including a second runway.


 Musts: for the second runway
  • be between 3km and 3.5km. long x 45m. wide (to enable it to be used for up to large aircraft just as the present runway is used)
  • start construction as soon as possible so that it can be brought into service asap even before the opening of the new terminal and its satellites.
  • have a dedicated terminal and satellites for all the flights which avoid, where possible, conflicting ground movements of aircraft manouvering between terminals.
  • a new light rail system to be built underground or overground to connect all the terminals and to the central National Rail station(thus Gatwick Express and other regional rail companies can serve all passengers without multiple changes of vehicles)
  • the same light rail inter-terminal system would connect a central bus/coach station and car parks for private vehicles. 
  • be limited to aircraft with low polluting thresholds (establishing strict limitation goals for the opening of the runway).
  • operate airside all vehicles of whatever type which are non-polluting. (no combustion-engined vehicles at all from the opening date)
  • be open for any operator/ to any destination but only passenger and freight traffic. (no private flights)
  • operate strict hours to be established for normal operations but flexible enough to vary slightly in exceptional circumstances (this would include the ability of operators to reposition aircraft when affected by e.g.adverse weather conditions)
  • establish a clear short-term timetable for these anti-pollution measures and the operating hours to be applied in the rest of the airport airside, and then to be extended to the whole airport within a generation.(this would include cars, taxis, buses, coaches and commercial vehicles unless they used non-polluting propulsion and thus promote the use of public transport)
  • the financing of any expansion in the airport is the sole responsibility of the airport itself(the government will only finance complementary infrastructure outside the airport boundary where necessary - this will encourage the airport to make the investment without expensive embellishments)
  • Apply an agreement about the alternating use of the north and south runways for take-offs and landings so as to provide relief to local residents if considered necessary/advisable.
  • Start planning and programming the connection by new railway line to Heathrow, and the extension from Gatwick to Ashford so as to be able to provide direct rail services to mainland Europe, to be completed by 2030 (insofar as these works affect the airport) 

To build an additional runway at each of the two principal London airports these points/conditions must be included. If that is done then the needs of the business lobby can be squared with the worries/doubts of the environmental lobby to enable construction to commence.

Building at both airports ensures competition is maintained between the two.



This blogger has written extensively on the subject of additional runways in South East England. Be it sufficient to say that just two articles are there to understand the problems in detail 
 Heathrow´s 3rd runway - how to focus                      23-02-2012
 Heathrow and/or Gatwick - Let´s focus more             01-02-2015

07 October 2016

Extra runways at London´s airports (to date)

It has been recognised that there is a need for another runway in one(at least) of the London airports for some time. On one forum at least there has been extensive debate. "Extra Runways at London Airports" (Business Traveller, from 20-4-13 and ongoing).

The  Airports Commission was set up in late 2012 by the coalition Conservative-Liberal Democrat government with a brief to find an effective and deliverable solution which would allow the UK to maintain its position as Europe’s most important aviation hub.  

The comments I have included are to give you an idea of the matters discussed. They are all this blogger´s as I feel I have no right to include any from the other 61 persons who contributed with a grand total of 504 comments so far since the opening of this thread. However, they are there to be read if one so desires. Just a few remarks have been left out as they are irrelevant or make no sense on their own.



Philip Hammond(former Transport Secretary) wrote in an article for his local paper “The Argus”, yesterday Friday 19th April, about the need for a second runway at Gatwick.
“Minister backs call for extra runway at Gatwick”
He said: “So why not reflect that reality with a multi-airport model and expand London’s existing single runway airports at Gatwick and eventually Stansted, to two runways each, providing decades worth of passenger growth capacity.”
Others quoted are against this solution. However, it does appear that ideas are being floated, by government, about the inevitable – the expansion of runway capacity in the south-east. I would expect more in the future, including Heathrow.

To supplement the above Gatwick airport chiefs were quoted in the “London Evening Standard”, of yesterday 19th April, as saying, in a submission to the Davies Commission, …..
“Gatwick chiefs: Heathrow hub would raise cost of flights”

“Holidaymakers would see the cost of flying from the South-East rise if Heathrow is allowed to become a super-hub airport, Gatwick chiefs warned today.”
This seems like more power to the elbow about expansion at Gatwick. Wait for more in the days ahead.

Another event is to take place concerning Heathrow expansion. According to the “Uxbridge Gazette”, of 19th April,………
“Hillingdon’s Heathrow referendum – which way will you vote?”

…………there are to be referenda in Hillingdon and Richmond about expansion at Heathrow.
The way things are organised makes me think the ploiticians, and subsequently government, are trying to put to rest the idea of a third runway at LHR while opening the door to a second runway at Gatwick.
This would be another unsatisfactory “fix”.

More movement in promotion of Gatwick……
“Labour warms to Gatwick expansion”

(London Evening Standard 24th April)

Published today1st July in Travel Weekly.
“Aviation review identifies 20 possible runway sites”.

Seen in Airport World 11th July ´13
“UK needs ‘constellation’ approach for London airports” by CEO of Gatwick.
To start with, a second runway at Gatwick followed by expansion at other airports round London “to deliver the air connectivity”, “to deliver true competition”,” to lesssen the environmental impact …. and….. make the UK capital’s airports more resilient to disruption”.

Seen in Travel Weekly today 15th July´13.
“Boris goes cold on his Thames estuary island hub plan”
The London Mayor switches support to Lord Fosters proposal to an airport on the Isle of Grain. He also supports expanding Stansted to four runways. (Both ideas are, conveniently, outside his constituency of Greater London).

Also seen in Travel Weekly today 15th.
“Heathrow to rule out fourth runway until 2040”,
The CEO of Heathrow Airport Holdings(HAH) ruled out a fourth runway at LHR and mixed mode use on the existing two runways until 2040, but ruled in a third runway.


It seems that the Airport Commission, which is due to publish its provisional conclusions on runway provision in the South East of England by the end of December, is already preparing the ground. It will then also provide a “short list of options for expansion”.
The UK Airports Commision chairman, Sir Howard Davies said,”To rely only on runways currently in operation (in the UK) would be likely to produce a distinctly sub-optimal solution for passengers, connectivity and the economy, and would also almost certainly not be the best solution in terms of minimising the overall carbon impact of flights and travel to and from airports,”
Published by Airwise/Reuters yesterday 7th Ocober.
“Airports Commission Says UK Needs More Runways”,

Published by Buying Business Travel yesterday 7th October
“South-east needs more runways – Airports Commission”

Will the politicians swallow the poisoned pill?  

Published yesterday 7th Oct. in the Mailonline…
“Heathrow runway hint as airport tsar backs expansion: New runways WILL have to be built in the South East of England warns Britain’s airports chair.”


New difficulties are on the horizon for the Airports Commission.
Published today Monday on Travel Weekly.
“Davies Commission faces Stansted legal challenge”.


The chief executive of MAG (the owners of Stansted), Charlie Cornish, wants to develop Stansted like Manchester, adding routes to Asia, with the Middle East and China on his radar.
Published today(15th) in Travel Weekly.
“Stansted boss sets out vision for two runways”.

Also CAPA publishes today an article about the runways´ issue as faced by the UK Airports Commission.
“UK Airports Commission: the UK’s runway capacity farce continues as opponents dig in”.


Published today 28th April 2014 in Travel Weekly.
“Heathrow to ‘refine’ expansion proposals”

“Refinements to Heathrow’s proposal for a third runway will be submitted to the Airports Commission on May 14, reflecting input from public consultation in February and March.”
“..(the)proposal would raise the capacity at the London hub to 740,000 flights a year, from the current limit of 480,000. It would cater for up to 130 million passengers a year against up to 80 million.”
“The Airports Commission is due to report its final findings in summer 2015.”

Runway expansion in the South East Of England is a hot potato without doubt. However, somebody at some point must take up the challenge.
Politics being the overiding factor then a politically acceptable solution must be found.
Maybe it is the restriction of use of a third runway due to noise and fumes.
Maybe it is combining the extension of the runway to the elimination of the level crossings along the Windsor lines from Clapham Junction, together with the announcement of a resurgence of Airtrack.
Maybe it is a question of leaving the market foces to play their role without help.
Who knows? We know it is, unfortunately, going to be a “fudge” as tends to be the British solution to problems.

The solution is not going to satisfy everybody. Let us hope it satisfies at least some people and solves, at least, the greatest problems.
I am not optimistic. 

The better connected airport to the rest of the UK, linked to the MML and with a possibility of connecting to the ECML, is Luton. Everybody writes it off or just ignores it so it is not even mentioned.
Can´t we have an objective look at it? Terrain problems have been mentioned in the past but if anybody is promoting an estuary airport then I would consider Luton´s terrain problems to be small in comparison.

If Luton were designated as an airport for development then the logical thing would be to build a rail link from the MML to the airport and then on to the ECML at Stevenage. This could then provide rapid connections along two routes into London and for passengers going further north.

If the said Goldsmith is the MP for Richmond he should spend some time walking around his constituency.
There the aircraft sounds into Heathrow are minimal. At most these days you could call them a minor irritant.

The innovative proposal was for the planes to land at the extreme eastern ends of both the north and south runways, while outbound planes would take off from about halfway down the runways extended westwards for about 3 kms. over the M25 towards the Staines-Windsor rail line.
Since the take offs and landings do not need as much extension of runway as with previous generations of planes, it makes the proposal quite feasible. Maybe for safety precautions this use might be limited when the Superjumbos land/take off in wet or icy weather.
The disadvantage of these proposals, apart from the expense, is that it would mean the end of the Cranford agreement when north and south runway use has been alternated between take offs and landings so as to give the residents under the flight paths some respite from aircraft noise. The new proposals would double the flight numbers and mean continuous use of both runways morning, noon and night.
A third runway would not suffer this problem. It would be used in mixed mode – alternating take offs and landings – while the types of aircraft used would be smaller jets or even propeller driven thus producing much less noise. The effect on the surrounding residences would, therefore, be minimal.
The increase in flight capacity would certainly be 50% but the ground capacity would demand a new terminal with plenty of air bridges for the aircraft.

News which is both good and worrying:
It is good because it reflects how the economy is improving.
“Passenger numbers rise at Stansted Airport” (Business Weekly 20-11-14)
“London City airport posts record traveller number.”s(Buying Business Travel 20-11-14)
“Gatwick warns of ‘capacity crunch’ after record results.”(Buying Business Travel 20-11-14)
“Gatwick issues capacity warning after busiest six months in its history.”(Travel Weekly 20-11-14)
And on Heathrow I have only found this……
“Heathrow traffic and business commentary October 2014.”( LHR Airports Ltd. 11-11-14) …. but it tells the same story.

All well and good, but the worrying part is the delay in deciding on runway expansion in the south-east. This information surely illustrates the need to take decisions now and not after the next election. We are a victim of our own success.
We do not want any fudging. Let the government lay down (strict) conditions for runway building, then let both Heathrow and Gatwick get on with the job of building the extra runways at both airports with their own funding.
Not one but two runways are going to be needed by mid century. Cannot we anticipate demand for once?

This article appears today on the BBC website.
“Heathrow and Gatwick report record passenger numbers in 2014”

Heathrow achieving a flow of 73.4 million passengers while Gatwick achieves 38 million.
The trend is upwards and shows no sign of abating. Is that not reason enough to suggest that new runways are needed at both airports?

I read with gloom the arguments made against expansion at both airports.
“Increase in CO2 levels…” – cars produce 100 times more Co2 but no mention of them.
“Increase in noise levels…” – rubbish, because the level of noise has been reducing gradually since the 1970s. Now, the newer and newer generations of aircraft are producing less and less noise.
“Other airports can absorb any increases in traffic…” – that is precisely why Vietnam Airlines is transfering from Gatwick to Heathrow. Distance from the final destination is vitally important. Anywhere more than 50kms from London is a non-starter. Anywhere east of London is too far away for the vast majority. The only remaining alternative is Luton which is possible but only with massive investment and only when targeted as an, eventual, four runway option.

With your permission, some more of my thoughts on the matter.

From The Independent today….
“Passengers avoid connections at busy London airports in favour of continental rivals.”
This indicates some figures of the effect of overcrowding at the London airports.


So what you are suggesting is that the APD is devolved to the nations, except England. They will then abolish it to promote regional flights to such important international destinations as Paris CDG, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Franfurt, Munich and Zurich. All these are hubs for other airlines than our own. This, of course, suits the ostriches because any growth in demand is diverted from the South East.
This was evident with the measure announced in airport-tecnology.com (30th March 2015)
“International and domestic connections from smaller airports to be expanded in UK”.

At least if Aer Lingus comes into the IAG fold then flying from Dublin will be less rasping.
It astounds me how quick fixes are the order of the day and the few can dictate to the many .

In my view STN is out in the boondocks as would be any Estuary airport. The infrastructure to STN is deficient and any bettering of it would not better anybody else outside East Anglia.
The objections against Luton is the lay of the terrain. However, I have never understood how one can propose constructing an airport on marshland or quicksands to destroy the environment and the multiple wildlife habitats that exist there. On the other hand setting loose some bulldozers to level the terrain between Luton and Harpenden where four independent runways could be built between the MML and the ECML is a much more logical and feasible solution.
Since that option is not on the cards then the solution has to be expanding both Heathrow and Gatwick.By the time both are up and running they could be straining at the seams which means that Luton should be looked at again.


A long awaited report lands with a thump. Its size is formidiable – I hope the intention is not to drown us with detail.
However, the devil, as always, is in the detail. Just to give one example is the following on domestic connections. However, take note that while there is a committment to legistate against air and noise pollution, and on the prohibition of a fourth runway, there is no firm committment about promoting and protecting domestic connections. It is all mentioned as a passing observation

Howard Davies emphasises the need of the extra runway for the whole UK. In this piece, in the report, he points out the necessity of maintaining regional domestic links to Heathrow. In 1995 there were 15 domestic UK destinations. These have been pushed out so are now reduced to 7.
“Howard Davies on the benefits to the whole country of an expanded Heathrow airport”

On the other hand Heathrow Airport itself promises to increase the number of domestic destinations from the present 7 to 16.
There are other flaws which will have to be looked at. One of which is the situation of the New Terminal (will it become the new T1?). Its logical position is over the Heathrow Express/Crossrail line into central London with a new station incorporated.
In fact Heathrow´s design for the third runway leaves a lot to be desired.

One report said that after due consideration the government would provide a decision at the end of this year..
Another said that the government would wait till after the mayoral elections in May 2016.

Whatever the decision it should be open and not party led.
It has also been said that the first spades could be in the ground by 2020.
The first spades at Gatwick could be in the ground by 2019.

Is it not time to give the TWO airports free reign to get on with construction asap under their own steam and own risk!!

If the government gave the permission to go ahead from e.g. 1st August what are the obstacles and what is the timescale to actually start digging at both airports?
Even though Gatwick has a “cast-iron” agreement not to permit construction of a new runway there until 2019 (a) when does that run out precisely(August 2019?), and (b) does the agreement prohibit any preplanning before the bulldozers get on site?


If there were ever an argument to increase capacity of BOTH Heathrow and Gatwick, it is the record number of passengers passing through both airports this summer.
Heathrow hit 6.6million passengers in June…….
...............................................and 7.29million in July. http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/Articles/2015/08/11/56239/heathrow-tops-250000-passengers-on-three-days-in-july.html
Meanwhile Gatwick hit 3.8million in June……….
.............................................and 4.3million in July.
And all this before August is finished which is expected to produce even higher numbers at both airports.
In fact I remember reading an article(which I cannot find now) saying that Gatwick had achieved the highest number of take-offs /landings ever with over 900 in one day which worked out to about one every 100 seconds.
Thus the government should permit construction at both airports asap. This would proably mean that Gatwick could open first as no new terminals are needed at first.

The traffic figures for London´s Heathrow and Gatwick airports have been published today. They show the same upwards tendency as reported for the June and July figures.
Heathrow recorded 7.33 million passengers for August which makes for a rolling twelve month figure of 74.44 million (1.8% increase).
In the figures for Gatwick in August, 4.53 million passed through the terminals while the rolling twelve month figure is 39.49 million (a 5.9% increase).
Add these figures to the previous ones mentioned by me on this thread @transtraxman – 11/08/2015 09:27 BST and the argument for expansion at both airports becomes unrefutable.
Gatwick´s, CEO Stewart Wingate, lays great emphasis on the Aiport Commission´s estimated traffic for Gatwick reaching 40 million by 2024 while it is already at 39.5 million.
It just goes to show that the “so-called” experts consistently underestimate the traffic forecasts for London´s airports. There can be no better argument to get ahead of the game to provide the capacity already needed. Let both airports be expanded now!

I do not trust politicians to make the right decisions, only the ones which most convenience them.
Much of decision making, in my view, depends very much on who has the politicians´ ear. Lobbyists of all colours, unions, employers´ associations, large employers locally, manipulative party members, party barons – when it comes down to it anybody who is well organised and can shout very loud – all seem to influence the soggy press who then go for the highest readership/viewership whatever the consequences.
Any real, balanced, informative reports etc are heavily filtered before they actually reach the general public. How many people actually read reports or are given the chance to? very few in fact. This can be realised by just standing back and listening to the never ending use of the same phrases and weak arguments over the airways and across the written page.
That is why weak decisions taken yesterday have to be corrected today or tomorrow.
A transport infractructure policy has to be a whole, not itsy bitsy patchwork fixes. What is needed is a rolling programme to anticipate, develop and provide solutions which are then put into effect.
Is that possible from our politicians?

10/12/2015 23:10 GMT
So the decision on a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick has been kicked into the long grass yet again by the prevaricating procrastinating political eunuchs.
It is about time these political castrati explained to the general public that expansion will go ahead one way or another.
I think most of us on this forum would opt for adding new runways at both Heathrow and Gatwick. Opening the options means that Gatwick´s could be up and working sooner than Heathrow´s. Gatwick could dig the first turf in 2019 when the present agreement with West Sussex County Council runs out. The runway could be used before the new terminals are completed, so it could be an ongoing process.
The Cranford agreement between the UK government and Cranford residents was an oral undertaking promised 31st July 1952. This restricted use of each of the northern and southern runways to take-offs or landings which was alternated at midday. The residents under the flight paths were thus freed from continuous daylong noise from aircraft. This agreement was ended 15th January 2009 and this decision was confirmed by the new coalition government in September 2010.
Therefore, the protection for the residents at both ends of the runways has ended and is not in force. and will not come back into force.
Any increase in activity at Heathrow from now on means both runways are to be used in "mixed-mode" i.e. take-offs and landings on/from the same runway (just the way Gatwick is used). The increase in demand for slots at Heathrow means this will happen without doubt. Thus the increase in aircraft noise and fumes will be greater for those residents under or near the flightpaths. The advantages of building a third runway will be lost (or postponed for a long time). Any limiting conditions(applicable to the whole airport and beneficial to all) which would have been build into the granting of the right to construct a new runway will not be introduced so everybody loses out.
These are the sort of things never mentioned by the interested parties of the nimbys and the gutless rulers who are loath to take decisions. We need somebody to stand up and be counted with the b...s to see this through and build both new runways...... err, isn´t that called a leader?
EDITED TO ADD: With the introduction of mixed-mode at LHR and the subsequent increase in slots, then the problem will be diverted to the ground. More parking places for aircraft will be needed. Thus, this will mean greater use of bussing to aircraft and greater discomfort for passengers.

11/12/2015 12:02 GMT
I am absolutely astounded by this decision about whether to construct one, two, new runways or none in SE England. After 15 years of dithering and dathering on the decision, it is based solely on the good of the party and not on the good of the nation. With endless meetings and man hours spent on producing innumerable reports (all saying the same thing) the political eunuchs can still not make up their minds.
Now we have a postponement for another six months (so that the elections for London Mayor can be passed) to produce the same result. at an added cost. The Davies Commission is said, so far to have spent about GBP20 million in its deliberations, and that is not counting the previous reports etc.
Is it not time for some group to yell that enough is enough and so take the government to court for misuse of public funds. The politicians forget that there is "responsibility without power" . Is this not what politics is all about, convincing people about the right things to be done even if they are not convinced. However, what we now have is "power without responsibility," which is much worse. This means that power is to be obtained and maintained for power´s sake. The public good is subject to that concept and even ignored. All results in nothing good being done at all - so those politicians should leave and hand over to more responsible ones.

13/01/2016 20:12 GMT
The statistics for passenger traffic at London airports make for interesting reading, with numbers increasing everywhere.....
                          2015                          2014
Heathrow           74.96m. (up 2.2%)       73.4m.
Gatwick             40.27m. (up 5.6%)       38.13m.
Stansted             22.57m. (up 13.0%)     19.98m.
Luton                 12.31m. (up 16.9%)     10.53m.
and for comparison...................
Manchester         23.21m. (up 5.23%)     22.06m.
Traffic is increasing at Heathrow and Gatwick mostly because of the use of bigger aircraft. The statistics for Cargo are not included but tend to be much greater increases.
The conclusion must be that new runways at both Heathrow AND Gatwick are needed now. The alternative of doing nothing means the traveller, business and even government revenue will all suffer.
The expansion could only come about in that case by mixed-mode use of the two runways at Heathrow. Gatwick shows how much traffic can be crammed on to one runway(with no let up period as at present). In that case everybody in West London would suffer, and much more than with the prevision of a third runway.

14/01/2016 22:26 BST 
The question of mixed mode is not simple arithmetic. The present operation is use of one runway for landings and the other for take offs. The distance between aircraft is regulated so that there is a minimum gap between the aircraft for safety reasons. Using mixed mode operation you slip a takeoff between each landing and vice versa. Thus the use of each runway is increased substantially. That is why Gatwick is only at about 87% capacity use while LHR is at 98%. This affects the distance between landing (or taking off) aircraft as a greater safety margin is used. Thus the figures at both airports cannot be compared so simply.
This question of mixed mode use has been discussed and trialed at LHR in the last six years and discarded so far. However, mixed mode can be introduced at any time at LHR. Then there will be no let up for the residents of West London all day. The construction of a new runway is the only way to limit the effects on nearby residents and maintain the present alternation of runway use. Thus the "do nothing" option is a "no-goer".

15/01/2016 19:29 GMT
I do not think the night restrictions are very different between the two airports, though they might be less restrictive at Gatwick.
Whatever, the point I seek is if anything is to be done soon about building one or two new runways. The result will certainly be greater restrictions on engine noise, engine fume emissions and operational flying hours. Even so both new runways are needed.

07/05/2016 20:35 BST
Now that the local elections are over in London and the new Mayor has been decided upon, let us now get down to the real business of seeing and getting the country to work.
Firstly, Boris J. put a stopper on the expansion of London City airport. Here he was in disagreement with the local authorities (Newham?) apart from all the relevant players. Let us see if the new Mayor decides to do what needs to be done and approve the expansion of London City. After that we can start to believe in his credentials.
He has expressed a muted positive view on airport expansion. As a result he favoured Gatwick as the least bad solution. That is fine as far as it goes and good luck to him.
However, I still maintain the view that the expansion of Gatwick, while necessary, is not enough. This is when the new Mayor will have to bite the bullet and accept that expansion at Heathrow is inevitable. Thus his role is to help ameliorate the effects on the affected populace.
As President Harry Truman used to say, "We need action, and the time for action is now". (paraphrased).

11/05/2016 10:51 BST
Heathrow airport has accepted new more restrictive conditions in order to get permission for construction of the third runway.
"Heathrow offers concessions in fight to build third runway".
Heathrow airport lays out the information in its own press release.
"Heathrow responds to Airports Commission conditions, third runway can now be approved by PM".
This is just after the House of Commons Select Committee calls on the government to make a decision now.
"Government urged to set clear timetable for airport expansion".
.........and this is after passenger traffic increases by 2.6% yet again in the first quarter of 2016

11/05/2016 11:22 BST
The answer from Gatwick has not been long in coming.
"Gatwick chief says Heathrow expansion would be a 'failed solution' ". (Travel Weekly 11-5-16)
From Gatwick airport`s own website.....
"Heathrow cannot promise away the reality of its location".
So the battle is hotting up..........unfortunely I would say, as I firmly believe we will need both airports to be expanded.

It seems that yet again the decision on a new runway in the south east is to be put off.
“Airport expansion decision ‘may be delayed until September’ “. (travel Weekly 8-6-16)
Apparently there is a bottleneck of important decisions to be made in Whitehall. And……” you can’t take this decision when the House of Commons is not sitting”.
That would take us to September and the Conference season. If David Cameron does not achieve a resounding “remain” vote in the upcoming referendum in two weeks then his job will be on the line. All it would take would be for some unscrupulous egocentric individual, like Boris Johnson, to put the cat among the pigeons by standing against the PM for leadership of the Tory party. Then there could be a change at the top and the decision is thwarted.

If DC loses the referendum then he is out anyway and so the decision is then postponed indefinitely.I think the only way for this decision to go forward is for the PM to call everybody´s bluff in July before Parliament breaks up for holidays. Now is the time to lay his political life on the line.

So what will happen now that Cameron has resigned?
This decision will be put on a backburner…..again.

The best example of the future after Brexit is what already happens with Norway and Switzerland.
The travel concerns of this forum (about which we are talking) will reveal that nothing will change in that department. Easyjet and Ryanair will continue to dominate the European air transport markets as Norwegian has learnt how to do, despite being outside the Union.
Pragmatism will prevail, unless UKIP and its Fifth Column decide to raise the drawbridge – in that case may reason and enlightenment save us all.

Just as there is a petition to force a Commons debate on the having a second Brexit referendum (which at this moment is reaching 3.375 million signatures), there could also be a petition started to try to force the government and other politicians to make a decision on the runway.
It could be framed so as to include either Heathrow or Gatwick (or even both) to have the permission to build another runway at their own expense. The petitioners insist the government no longer postpones the decision and has it presented to the Commons for debate and decided upon before the summer recess.
It would need to be passed from forum to forum, agency, media publication, trade associations etc.etc. to achieve a wide distribution.
Or would that be a step too far for the dithering politicians?

......... the debate is hotting up as today´s press shows.......
..........over Heathrow
“Doubts raised over runway decision following referendum,” (Travel Weekly, 27-6-16)
“Brexit ‘cast doubts’ on Heathrow expansion decision,”( Buying Business Travel, 27-6-16)
...........and about Gatwick.
“Gatwick expansion offers certainty after Brexit vote, claims airport boss”,(Travel Weekly, 27-6-16)
......However, some critical comments have been made by IAG´s boss........
“IAG’s Walsh Warns Over Heathrow Expansion Cost”, (Airwise/Reuters, 22-6-16)
.......which might have some relation to Stansted´s expansion policy.........
“London Stansted launches final phase of infrastructure improvements” (Breaking Travel News, 14-6-16)
........and that is without mentioning the forecast reduction in passenger numbers at the airports and reduced profits at IAG, Easyjet and TUI.
Whatever happens BT sister publication, “Buying Business Travel”, estimates a decision to be made by the UK government by 7th or 8th July next.

It is curious because the greatest noise coming out against the third runway at Heathrow is from Richmond and Putney. In fact they would be less affected than the good folk of Acton and Brentford.
With regard to Northolt, the people greatly affected would be in Harrow, Wembley and Uxbridge.
Any use of that air station is limited to the size of the aircraft and not whether they are military, private or commercial.

Of course, FLYBE is interested in using Northolt simply because its aircraft are smaller jets and turbo props so could use the air station easily. Any other operator would be a similar sort of airline (e.g.Eastern, Aurigny, BMI Regional and Blue Islands) but all minnows in comparison.
Let us put an end to the procrastination and hypocrisy being bandied about, especially the latest excuse, pollution.
I remember reading somewhere that only 2% of the air pollution in London up to 1500 meters(?) is caused by aircraft. The greatest polluting agents are cars and other ground-based combustion engined vehicles.

The two airports LHR and LGW should be given a free hand to develop an additional runway in each case free from government intervention but subject to the due planning process, which would be a different political battle. 

“O’Leary wants three new London runways” (Buying Business Travel 31-8-16)
“Airbus 319 passenger jet had Gatwick near miss”, (BBC.com 1-9-16)
The principal reason given is……..
….” reducing the usual separation time between departing aircraft from two minutes to 45 seconds to increase frequency”…..
That is a major indication of how full Gatwick really is. So yet more evidence to show that runways are needed now at both Heathrow and Gatwick. In fact in the time it will take to open the runways the situation will be worse. Are we going to have a major accident before the politicians wake up?

“Heathrow could apply to lift flight limit allowing 50 more planes to use the airport every day”, (Evening Standard 10-9-16)
This sounds like a good stop gap measure to introduce before the new runway gets built. This would mean increasing the annual aicraft movements from the present 475,000 to the maximum permitteed of 480,000. However, it will never be so simple. The slack is likely to be composed of uninteresting time slots because it that were not the case then they would have been snapped up already. Anyway, to bring the total up to 50 flights per day the present cap would have to be lifted.
The alternative is to introduce mix-mode, whereby both runways are used for take offs and landings just as Gatwick does. This would mean each runway at Heathrow could reach the figures of Gatwick for annual movements which meant that this last year Gatwick has moved 41.7million passengers. For Heathrow that would give it a margin of 10 milliom passengers more to achieve.
Most probably this mix-mode use of the two runways is not on the cards but selective use of mixed -mode might help and convince the people of West London that they would be better off with a third runway.


Some more development on the question of new runways has come to light.
One CEO, Andrew Swaffield of Monarch airlines, considers “…Brexit may force the debate on new runway capacity in the southeast to a head saying aviation is “a critical lubricant of trade deals” and his personal view was there is a clear need for new runway capacity at both Gatwick and Heathrow.”
So another airline professional sees the need for runways at both LHR and LGW.
“Aviation should prepare for ‘hard Brexit’ says Monarch boss” (Travel Weekly 14-9-16)

But much more importantly the changes in government seem to be going the same way.
Taking its information from a “Times” article, the piece says a leaked document seemed to indicate the major opponents of Heathrow expansion were being sidelined.It states the there is speculation “… prime minister Theresa May is leaning towards approving a third runway at Britain’s biggest airport”.
To defuse any opposition from ministers collective responsibility would be suspended and a free vote given.
Moreover, “…some believe that May could also decide to encourage Gatwick to expand on the grounds that the UK must do all it can to expand its export capacity after Brexit, according to The Times.”
“Boris frozen out of southeast runway decision,” (Travel Weekly 15-9-16)

October 18th is seen as the probable date when the decision is announced.
It appears that at last the politicians have grasped the metal.

Now that a decision on runway expansion for London airports seems imminent, CAPA has come up with an analysis today 7-10-16 which proves interesting reading.
“South East England runway decision – UK Prime Minister Theresa May could select a radical solution,”
The economic and political problems are highlighted, including the fact that no Prime Minister in recent times has been in a better position to do what he/she believes in. CAPA proposes and then knocks down its own proposals.It comes to the conclusion that PM. May could well propose both Heathrow and Gatwick are given the go-ahead to built another runway each and let them get on with it.
This double solution is the way forward put forward by this poster/blogger for some years now. Of course there would be problems not least the capacity (or lack of) to finance the operations. However, every problem is there to be solved. This decision is expected towards the second half of this month. Let us hope it is so – at last.