The Mayor of London has said the nearly half the domestic flights from Heathrow would be discontinued if a third runway is approved.
He says this is predicted by one of the Airports Commission reports. Heathrow’s projections disagree.
Over the last twenty-five years connections between Heathrow and other UK destinations have reduced from 18 to seven, says the Mayor, and that an expanded Heathrow would see regional links decline further to four UK destinations.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “The final decision on where to provide new aviation capacity needs to be in the interest of the entire country”.
He described Heathrow’s assertion that a third runway would allow better domestic links as a “hoax”, and renewed his call for “a hub airport with the potential for multiple runways and the spare capacity to allow domestic routes to flourish”.
The Airports Commission have suggested using Public Service Obligations to encourage more domestic links, but the Mayor believes there are serious questions around the practicality of doing this.
The Mayor of London’s chief adviser on aviation, Daniel Moylan, said: “Any attempt to impose a state sponsored domestic route network would clearly face the risk of legal challenges. And would the taxpayer be willing to pay for it? Public Service Obligations are designed for “peripheral and development regions” so there will be questions of illegal State Aid if the Government follows the Airports Commission’s guidance on this. It would involve taking a huge and unpopular gamble with taxpayers’ money.”
Heathrow’s own projections suggest expansion would allow links to 16 regional airports, up from 7 today. They also point to considerable support nationally – The British Chambers of Commerce has backed Heathrow expansion, as well asover 30 local Chambers of Commerce from every region and nation across the UK; 6 in 10 London First and IoD members; and the Manufacturers’ Association, EEF.