MPs must vote on Heathrow expansion “as quickly as possible” to avoid the UK’s aviation industry lagging behind France and Germany, Heathrow’s chief executive has warned.
Heathrow experienced its fastest growth in five years in 2017 with passenger numbers hitting 78M, according to its end of year results, released today.
But the airport’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye urged the government to bring the planned summer vote on expansion forward to prevent growth stalling.
He said: “While we are squeezing out small bits of growth, our rivals in France and Germany are overtaking us – for Britain to thrive post-Brexit, the government needs to crack on with Heathrow expansion as quickly as possible with a vote in Parliament before the summer.”
Holland-Kaye’s intervention comes after airline bosses yesterday (Wednesday) urged MPs not to trust Heathrow over claims it could deliver expansion on time and on budget. British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh told the Commons transport committee he has “zero confidence” in Heathrow’s owners.
MPs are due to vote on Heathrow expansion in the summer. Last week Transport for London (TfL) told New Civil Engineer it could join several London boroughs in a legal challenge against expansion if expansion is approved.
TfL does not believe current surface access proposals are sufficient to meet expansion requirements, such as a pledge for 50% of passenger journeys to be made by public transport by 2030.
Heathrow is currently holding its own consultation on expansion, including its plans to divert part of the M25 through a tunnel.