Andrew Haines, Chief Executive of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), has called for a ‘complete rethink’ of the airspace patterns before either Heathrow or Gatwick is given permission for a new runway.
He has warned that unless air flight patterns are modernised the expanded airport may be unable to use any of this additional capacity due to lack of airspace.
Mr Haines compared the situation of expanding an airport without redesigning airspace to ‘building a brand new car park and forgetting to build the access road to it’.
The MP for the Windsor constituency, Adam Afriyie welcomed the announcement:
“Most sensible people realise that a third runway at Heathrow is nonsensical because it is already the most expensive airport in Europe, in breach of pollution regulations, requires billions of taxpayer subsidy and could only operate at half capacity. We now discover that it is not guaranteed that Heathrow could use any additional airspace capacity a third runway might create.
“To remain a great trading nation we will need to be able to handle many more flights in the coming decades to keep up with demand. However, it is essential that the airspace we currently have is accessible and used as effectively as possible”
“Heathrow is permanently stymied by its archaic location; a relic of the day before mass air travel. This country will need 4 or more extra runways over the next 50 years to remain a great trading nation. That simply isn’t possible at Heathrow.”