The Airport Commission reports today with Heathrow back in the race with options for two additional runways, Gatwick expansion is possible, but lower down the options list, Boris Island still in the race, just, but a better case has to be made if it is to be allowed to pass the starting gate, and Stansted is ruled out completely.
The Commission’s research into the effect of aviation capacity constraints on the UK economy found that:
· costs to providers and users of the UK airport system could be £18 billion to £20 billion in present value terms and including delay costs, between 2021 and 2080;
· there is good evidence to suggest that there are costs associated with lost trade, foreign direct investment (FDI) and tourism, and that these are likely to affect wider UK economic performance; and,
· these whole economy impacts of capacity constraints on GDP could cost £30 billion to £45 billion, in present value terms, between 2021 and 2080.
The report also provides a forecast on passenger growth under a range of scenarios:
The charts indicates that passenger numbers will almost double between 2010 and 2050 to circa 530m passengers. Sounds like a big number? Dubai International airport will have capacity for 1.7bn passengers!
If Britain wants to compete as a global trading nation then it must upgrade its ageing transport infrastructure. There are a range of options on the table but the one that must be ditched for good is kicking the can down the road and doing nothing.