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Demonstrators from anti-airport expansion activist group Plane Stupid forced the closure of the Heathrow’s northern runway in the early hours of this morning.
The 12 protestors cut through a perimeter fence and got onto the runway at about 3.30am. The runway reopened at about 6.20am with the airport warning of some flight delays.
Heathrow’s southern runway remained open during the security breach. British Airways advised passengers to check their flight status today warning of some delays.
Heathrow warned: “Due to protest activity at the airport, there may be delays and cancellations and you are advised to check your flight status below before travelling to the airport.
“We are sorry for the disruption and our priority remains to ensure the safe running of the airport.”
The protest came as the airport’s boss warned that government failure to expand Heathrow will mean “retreating as a nation”.
Chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, was speaking as the London hub reported a record 6.68 million passengers in June, up 1.1% on the same month last year.
Last month’s growth was driven by larger, quieter aircraft as the airport handled 40,626 flights.
Passenger numbers were strong to Mexico, up 23.6%; China, up 15.2% and Turkey, up 3.4%.
Holland-Kaye said: “On July 1, the Airports Commission ended the debate on where a new runway should be built by unanimously recommending Heathrow’s new expansion plan.
“It’s now a binary choice for the British government. We either expand Heathrow – creating jobs, growth, a rebalanced economy and lucrative export routes – or we do nothing and retreat as a nation.
“The answer is obvious, so let’s get on with it.”
The Commission found that expanding Heathrow would produce more competition in the long-haul market.
“This would have the greatest and quickest positive impact for passengers because the short-haul market in the UK is already very competitive,” Heathrow said.
“Additional capacity at Heathrow would also allow low-cost carriers to build more substantial networks as a large number of new slots become available for the first time in several decades, further driving competition at the UK’s hub.
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