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Press Release

Press Releases

Howard Davies to consider Policy Exchange airport proposal

Policy Exchange press release

At the launch of his review into airport capacity, Sir Howard Davies confirmed that he would be considering a recommendation to build an airport to the west of Heathrow. The proposals, outlined in a Policy Exchange paper, Bigger and Quieter, is a four runway hub located immediately west of the current Heathrow site. This would double the existing capacity to 130million passengers, cementing it as Europe’s premier hub.

To reduce the effect of noise the report proposes:

· A complete ban on the noisiest aircraft at all times, rather than just at night. Airlines would have to ensure their fleet complied with new decibel measures by the time the new runways were ready for use

· Imposing a complete ban on night flights. The increase in the number of slots available would mean no planes would arrive or depart between 11pm and 6:15am

· Landing narrow bodied planes at a steeper angle as they already do at London City airport. This again means they are higher over any part of West London on their descent. For example, a plane would be 925m rather than 260m above Hounslow

Because the proposal reuses existing terminals and infrastructure, the price is likely to be around half that of Foster’s proposal for an estuary airport. Approximately 700 properties would need to be demolished compared to the 1,400 that would need to go to make way for the estuary airport. The cost and ease of travel to Heathrow as well as the fact many businesses are already located near the current airport makes it the most suitable site.

David Skelton, deputy director, Policy Exchange, “The UK needs a new four runway hub airport located in the South East which has spare capacity to accommodate the likely increase in demand, especially to cope with the rise in middle class travellers from emerging markets.

“It is possible to expand Heathrow in such a way that it cements itself as Europe’s number one hub, while significantly reducing the noise nuisance over West London. A four runway airport would be straightforward to construct and relatively low cost by the standards of hub airports. It causes the lowest level of disruption to the wider economy of any likely airport expansion scenario.”

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