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Tourism chiefs back Heathrow expansion

By November 8, 2012 No Comments

Tourism chiefs and travel industry executives from around the world have shown support for the expansion of Heathrow over a new airport in the Thames Estuary, a World Travel Market survey has shown.

The poll, released as World Travel Market (one of the largest business-to-business travel exhibitions in the world) got underway in London this week, represented the views of many of the world’s top travel executives. Its release also coincides with the beginning of Sir Howard Davies’ government-commissioned investigation into the future of the aviation industry in Britain.

Of the 1,300 executives surveyed, 34% backed the building of the additional runway at Heathrow, whilst only 20% believed that the new aviation hub in the Thames Estuary – backed by London mayor, Boris Johnson – was the solution.

“It is clear that senior travel executives from around the globe are in favour of expanding the UK’s primary airport with a third runway at Heathrow.” Said World Travel Market’s director, Simon Press. He continued by saying: “Expanding other airports in south-east England is more popular than building a new airport which suggests that our overseas colleagues think the UK Government should steer clear from an ambitious if expensive solution when there are better options available.”

The government has so far dismissed the idea of Heathrow having a third runway, but there have been suggestions in recent months that MPs are willing to consider the idea. Last weekend Prime Minister, David Cameron, was quoted in the Times as saying that Boris Johnson was wrong to dismiss the idea of the third runway at Heathrow and that he would not have a veto on any decision regarding the hub’s expansion. He said: “In the end the decision is a national decision that the government has to lead.”

In a new twist to the on-going saga, Heathrow Airport Holdings – formerly BAA – has said this week that it wants the government to look at a report from the Free Enterprise Group (a think-tank of Conservative MPs) which suggests a four-runway hub at (or near) Heathrow would be the best way to compete with other European cities, such as Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt – all of which have airports with four runways.

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