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Airport decision is 'once in a generation opportunity', says Transport Secretary

Credit: ITV

My department has received the final report from the Airports Commission and will now consider that advice in detail.

As a nation we must be ambitious and forward looking. This is a once in a generation opportunity to answer a vital question.

I will make a statement to Parliament later today in which I will set out the process for that decision to be made.

– Patrick McLoughlin, Transport Secretary

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Heathrow is preferred choice for new runway

Heathrow has been chosen for the new runway Credit: ITV

The Airports Commission has that recommended a new runway for the region should be built at Heathrow and not Gatwick. It says the Government should take also take "firm action" to rule out further expansion at the airport.

It also wants a ban on night flights, a highly controversial issue in the Thames Valley.

Sir Howard Davies who has spent two years looking at plans to expand Heathrow, Gatwick and for a new airport in the Thames Estuary says Heathrow is best.

In a 242 page report he says Gatwick put up a "credible option" but Heathrow is best placed. It will create 70,000 jobs by 2050.

Of Gatwick the report says:

"The scheme is feasible but the additional capacity would be more focused on short-haul intra-European routes and the economic benefits would be considerably smaller."

The report says at Heathrow there would be a boost to the economy of £147 billion over 60 years and add 40 new destinations. Around 800 homes would be demolished.

The plan is for a new runway north of the airport near to the M4 which would run over the M25 in a tunnel. A scheme known as Heathrow Hub, to extend an existing runway is ruled out because it would bring less benefit.

Three options for region's new runway

Heathrow or Gatwick for the new runway? Credit: ITV

The cost of a new runway at Gatwick would be £7.8 billion. A total of 163 properties would be demolished. It would create 120,000 new jobs with an economic boost worth £100 billion. Up to 40,000 new homes would be needed. Flight numbers would rise from 254,000 to 514,000 a year by 2050 with two new flightpaths. Passengers numbers would rise from 40 million a year today to 95 million.

The cost of a runway at Heathrow would be £15.6 billion. Around 950 homes would be demolished. The runway would create 180,000 new jobs with an economic boost worth £211 billion. Up to 40,000 new homes would be needed. Flight numbers would rise from 480,000 to 740,000 a year with two new flightpaths. Existing passengers numbers, 72 million a year, would double to 150 million.

The cost of the Heathrow Hub option would be £13.52 billion. Two hundred properties would be demolished. It would create 163,000 new jobs with an economic boost worth £214 billion. Up to 40,000 new homes would be needed. Flight numbers would rise from 480,000 a year to 700,000. Passengers numbers would rise from 72 million to 142 million a year.

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Airports' plea for quick decision on new runway

Heathrow - not Gatwick. And - get on with it now! Those words from Sir Richard Branson who says there MUST be a quick decision on a new runway for the South.

In an exclusive interview with ITV Meridian, Sir Richard - boss of the Crawley based Virgin Atlantic - said the Government must act fast.

Heathrow has two runways, Gatwick has one. If Heathrow is chosen, it will create 180,000 new jobs. Passenger numbers would rise from 72 million to 150 million a year.

At Gatwick, there would be 120,000 new jobs - with passenger numbers rising from 40 million each year - to 95 million.

Sir Howard Davies, who is advising the Government, will make up his mind within days. But the Goverment may take up to six months to make a final decision. Here's our Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse.

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