London airports 'need extra runways', say MPs

sis in the south east of England is so bad that all three London airports will need extending, according to a report by Conservative MPs.

“Creating new runways at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted could probably meet aviation demand for the next few decades,” the study says.

The report is part of a series of papers by Tory MPs for the economic ‘Growth Factory’ and suggests that at least one new runway is required by 2020.

It also suggests that London's three main airports may all need new runways to meet demand in future decades.

Local Heathrow MP Kwasi Kwarteng, the report’s author, told the Standard newspaper in London: “We can’t stick our head in the sand. In the future the richest countries are going to be flying more.

“It’s a simple question of do we want to be part of that or do we want to just slip back and let other people power ahead.”

He backs a third runway at Heathrow and is also open to the idea of a “Boris island” airport in the Thames Estuary, although he questions whether it may take too long to build.

He also proposes that Heathrow’s third runway could be the existing runway at RAF Northolt — highlighting that airports such as Amsterdam’s Schiphol have runways several miles from the control tower.

This came as International Airlines Group chief executive and his BAA counterpart Colin Matthews joined other aviation experts in warning that a new airport in the Thames Estuary would force Heathrow to close and would cause “catastrophic” unemployment in west London.

They said plans for a third runway at Heathrow, which is 99% full, must now be re-visited.

Matthews called for the country to have “a grown-up debate” about the “urgent economic need” for expanding Heathrow and said a second hub in the Thames Estuary is not the answer.

Walsh, said: “The business case for a new Thames Estuary airport does not stack up. Even if you could find £50 billion and wait 20 years for it to be built, you cannot make airlines use it. You would have to force the closure of Heathrow. It would wreck the economy of west London.