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Airport chiefs frustrated by lack of UK hub policy

The government’s lack of policy on developing Heathrow’s capacity as hub airport is frustrating rival airport chiefs, NCE has learned this week.

Operators of London Luton and Newcastle Airport are frustrated that with the current government ruling out a third runway at Heathrow, the UK’s only hub airport is losing out to international rivals.

“Not having a third runway at Heathrow is not an aviation policy,” said London Luton managing director Glyn Jones at NCE’s airport conference this week.

Jones said that a planned hub in the Thames Estuary is many years away and the government needs a policy that will develop Heathrow in the immediate future.

Operators at Newcastle International Airport shared the same view.

“Developing the Heathrow hub is very important for Newcastle airport,” said Newcastle International Airport planning and corporate affairs director Graeme Mason.

Mason said that although planes from Newcastle fly into other European hubs, access to the Heathrow hub is still the most important for the airport and he is keen to see more capacity.

Both Mason and Jones agreed that the government should not try and solve London’s airport capacity problems by trying to move traffic to regional airports.

“You can’t shuffle capacity around,” said Mason. “That’s just not going to work.”

Transport secretary Justine Greening said last year she had no plans in overturning the goverment’s policy blocking new runways at London’s Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports.

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