The Future of Airport Capacity
Attending the Westminster Energy/Environment/Transport Forum seminar “Developing a UK Aviation Strategy – Heathrow Implementation and the Future of Airport Capacity Across the UK” at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London, FAC Director Stephen M. Purcell was struck by the sheer divergence in views across the panel and indeed amongst the attendees.
It is nearly five years ago that the then UK Government set up the Davies Commission to consider options for expanding airport capacity. Over two years ago, this Airport Commission recommended a third runway at Heathrow, but consultations continue (with more scheduled as part of strategy development over the next 18 months). It is understood that unless the National Policy Statement is approved by Parliament next year, the foreseen completion of the runway in 2025 will no longer be achievable.
At the Seminar, Expansion for Heathrow called for greater progress: “With Brexit, it is simply more important we not only send a message that we’re open for business, but that we also have the mechanics to deliver links to long-haul markets that we may not do business with today, but we will absolutely need to do business with tomorrow. There was a very strong economic case before, and now with Brexit the urgency increases.”
Dublin Airport as Ireland’s Gateway
The ongoing efforts to alter the planning conditions dictating the manner in which the second runway at Dublin Airport will be able to operate, together with continued consideration for a third terminal to cater for future growth, mean that the position adopted within the UK will be very relevant.
Might Dublin be looking to the likes of China’s Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport which opened a third terminal last month? The 530,000 sq m terminal can accommodate an annual capacity of 45 million passengers, 1.1 million tonnes of cargo and 373,000 aircraft movements. It has added 94 aircraft parking stands. Chongqing Airport’s first two terminals have a total area of 200,000 sq m and can handle 30 million passengers annually. Last year, the airport transported 36 million passengers.
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