LORD Callanan has this morning reaffirmed the government’s commitment to increasing the capacity at Heathrow Airport by building a third runway.
In a wide-ranging speech about Brexit and the future of aviation at the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) Travel Matters conference, the new government minister and parliamentary under-secretary for the Department for Transport confirmed that the prevailing uncertainty of the time wouldn’t change the pro-aviation, pro-travel approach of the government.
He outlined the clear direction taken by the government prior to the election, such as the expansion plans for London City airport, the deal with China to allow more flights to enter the UK and of course, the new runway at Heathrow Airport.
Lord Callanan reiterated that “our airspace is a piece of national infrastructure as important as our roads and railways.”
He then spoke about the decision to leave the EU and admitted that while everybody in the industry wants clarity and quickly, it will be some time before this can be delivered. The early signs, he said, are encouraging.
In terms of Heathrow, this has always been a controversial decision, given that it lead to Zac Goldsmith resigning as and MP for Richmond upon Thames due to his vehement opposition to the runway.
Mr Goldsmith has since regained his seat and despite some concerns, Lord Callanan believes that the scheme is important if Heathrow is to be kept away from the hands of competitors.
It could, he said, “increase passenger choice, lower fares and give the UK room to grow our travel links for decades to come.”
The third runway will strengthen the UK’s domestic links too and Lord Callanan added: “It’s good news that Heathrow Airport has promised 14 domestic routes, and that’s what we’ll make sure the airport delivers – for the good of the whole of the United Kingdom.”
Crucially, it also means more construction contracts, both for major contractors, and suppliers. It will be a major development for this country, providing huge investment.