Heathrow capacity 'stifles economy'

Planes queuing to take off on the Southern runway at Heathrow Airport Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Capacity constraints at Heathrow Airport are restricting the UK's economic potential, a report by MPs has said.

The UK is being left behind on airport capacity provision where demand is greatest, according to the report from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Aviation.

Air passenger duty (APD) airport departure tax is "a barrier to inward business", the report also said.

The report follows the group's taking evidence from 60 organisations, as calls grow for the coalition Government to reverse its position and support a third runway at Heathrow.

All efforts should be made "to ensure the UK retains and grows hub capacity" at Heathrow or a new purpose-built hub airport, the group said.

The Government should undertake an economic analysis of the "impact of APD on growth and employment".

Group chairman Brian Donohoe (Lab: Central Ayrshire) said: "Our findings advocate a new direction for UK aviation and call upon all those ... with an involvement in the sector to look again at how aviation can be part of the solution to the UK's economic problems in a sustainable way.

"In order to achieve the greatest possible economic and social contribution from aviation, we need two things from Government: a forward-looking aviation policy that allows for aviation growth; and a new approach to the taxation of aviation. Combined, a new approach could not only energise the sector but also provide a firm foundation for the UK's economic recovery.

"In common with all other sectors, aviation must continue to address its carbon emissions and environmental impacts. It has already achieved significant improvements but can and must do more.

"The EU Emissions Trading Scheme is supported by this group and provides a good framework for aviation's emissions to be reduced to the same levels achieved in 2005 by 2050."