Heathrow expansion: What are the alternatives?

Heathrow expansion: What are the alternatives?

As part of an article on the case for and against Heathrow’s third runway, Matthew Hampton looks at some alternatives to expanding the airport

Build a new airport to the east of London

Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party’s favoured solution. Not impossible; and London’s weather patterns mean the airport should be to the east and not the west of the city.

But the sites identified to date – Foulness, Maplin Sands and Cliffe – have unacceptable risk of ‘birdstrike’, the most likely cause of the recent US Airways Hudson River crash landing.

Also a costly and environmentally destructive option – particularly linking the airport to the city.

Expand Gatwick or Stansted

Likely to happen anyway. Gatwick’s second runway plan has run into opposition, but aviation watchers predict the West Sussex airport will be expanded sometime after 2019.

A second runway at Stansted is a possibility in 2017.

Mixed-mode take-off and landing

ABTA was disappointed this hasn’t been adopted at Heathrow. But don’t rule it out. If Labour lose the next general election, the Conservatives promise to put the third runway plan on hold.

And what might take its place during an enquiry? Mixed mode is the likely answer.

Do nothing

The favoured approach since Heathrow’s inception. And look where that’s got us.


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