1. ITV Report

Claims lack of space at Heathrow is 'costing billions'

Heathrow airport Photo:

A new report claims a lack of capacity at Heathrow is costing the UK up to £14 billion a year in lost trade. This figure could rise to £26 billion a year by 2030, the report published by Heathrow added.

Heathrow bosses are keen to see a third runway at the west London airport but this has been ruled out for the time being by the Government. The report today said the UK needed one hub airport to compete with Europe.

It added that having a dual-hub plan, where two airports would serve as hub airports would not work. The report also ruled out as "unviable" the so-called Heathwick plan, where Heathrow and Gatwick would be joined by a rail link.

"The choice for the UK is not between two hubs or one, but between one hub or none. Only a single airport can operate as a hub in the UK."

– Frontier Economics report

The Government has appointed former Financial Services Authority chief Sir Howard Davies to head an aviation commission which will deliver its full report on UK airport capacity needs to ministers after the next general election.

Earlier this week, London Mayor Boris Johnson, who favours a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary or expansion at Stansted airport, met Sir Howard.

Mr Johnson put forward his preferences during the hour-long meeting as well as restating his opposition to expansion at Heathrow.

Today's report will be submitted to the Davies Commission by Heathrow bosses.

The report said that Heathrow operates at 99% capacity and that there was no room to fit in new trade routes to the emerging economies which were important for future economic growth.

It added that the lack of capacity was affecting the UK's competitive position. There were 1,532 more flights to the three largest cities in mainland China from Paris and Frankfurt than there were from Heathrow.

"If anyone was still in doubt about the importance of aviation to the UK economy, today's report should lay those doubts to rest. We're already losing out on up to £14 billion of trade a year - and that could almost double by 2030."

– Colin Matthews, Heathrow chief executive