Release Date:
Release ID: 4194

Third runway is environmentally efficient option

Leading trade body the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has welcomed findings from the House of Commons Transport Select Committee that a third runway at Heathrow would reduce wasted fuel emissions from ‘stacking’ – where planes wait mid-air for landing space. Greater runway capacity will also reduce noise from planes circling overhead, creating a more ambient local environment.

Christopher Snelling, FTA’s Head of Global Supply Chain Policy, said:

"We absolutely agree with the Transport Select Committee that a third runway would reduce stacking, in turn reducing fuel wastage, which is currently an appalling and pointless cost to the environment. Without a third runway, Heathrow will become far less relevant to global air freight and put our domestic economy at a huge disadvantage in the face of better-equipped Continental rivals.

"Anti-runway protesters may argue that making Heathrow uncompetitive is a good thing but they are not looking at the big picture. Restricting Heathrow will achieve no emissions benefits to the environment as the flights will simply go to another hub outside the UK, and it’s not as if there isn’t a lack of choice."

Since 1990, Heathrow’s list of destinations has declined from over 220 to around 180, simply due to congestion. As Heathrow has become less viable as Europe’s major hub airport its more capacious Continental rivals have been growing and thriving: Schipol Airport (Amsterdam) boasts five runways, Charles de Gaulle (Paris) has four and so too will Main airport (Frankfurt), all of which now run around 240 destinations.

The report states that Heathrow currently operates at 99 per cent capacity, putting its efficient running under incredible strain.

Snelling concluded:

"Of course, the overall environmental impact of aviation does need to be addressed. However, this can be achieved without jeopardising Heathrow’s status as one of Europe’s main hub airports, with an emissions trading scheme."
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