'To take flight or not?' - Should Heathrow be allowed to build a third runway?

The Southbank

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This probably won't affect most people directly, those in the north etc, but in light of the events this morning, I thought I would bring up this heated debate.

Growing up in Reading - which isn't as near as some places, but still on the flight path - a lot of people hated the noise, though I can't say I did, you got used to it pretty easily. A lot of people were dependent on jobs at the airport, and Heathrow offers its large share of them.

So, what do people think? Will it be a good impact on the economy, or should other alternatives be found that might be more effective, efficient and cheaper?
 

silkyman

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It does effect people in the north because when BA pulled out a lot of services from Manchester, it cost jobs and actually caused one of my clients to go bankrupt.

But it's also an issue where the 'regions' could provide some of the solution. I've flown several times from Manchestrr when the only available flight to my destination involved a change at Heathrow. (Obviously by living in the north west my flight was more expensive as I had to pay for the shuttle, too) How many flights into Heathrow are people flying from regional UK airports to get connecting flights? That's a lot of capacity taken up by shuttling people to and fro when having the actual flights themselves coming from places like Manchester direct would free up capacity.

Before spending billions of pounds and all of the ecological damage of expanding Heathrow or the insane floating airport Boris wants to do, we should make sure the infrastructure we have in place already is running efficiently.

Hell, you could even think about - heaven fucking forbid - people from London coming out of the South East to fly. If they ever get around to building HS2 (ha... Right... ) then it will be quicker to get from a lot of London to Birmingham Airport than to Heathrow.

Use the capacity we have rather than piling more and more infrastructure into the South East.
 

Cheese & Biscuits

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I think Heathrow needs another runway but I also agree we should be expanding non-London airport capacity in some way too.

Let's be honest here, how many people would rather fly to Birmingham and jump on a train to London than fly there direct? Not many I bet. Millions of people use London airports for a reason.

Creating a Northern hub around Leeds/Manchester with good transport links to Birmingham, Newcastle and the East Midlands would be good but it'd cost an absolute fortune for the benefit.

Most people who fly to London want to go to London and while that's the case, Heathrow is the only real option as the others are a bugger to get to for most people.
 

AFCB_Mark

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#4
I'm not opposed to expansion of Heathrow on any ideological grounds or anything. And I do think another runway in the London area is needed and would be beneficial.

All I would say, is that it's all very well pumping more flights and people through Heathrow, but the surrounding infrastructure already barely copes. The M25 around it, the A4 and other link roads into it, the car parking around it- it's all already a total nightmare. Another runway and god knows how many people using the same area every day - the mind boggles how it would cope before it descends into total gridlock.

For that reason, a second runway and third terminal at Gatwick makes more sense to me, because there's more capacity in the surrounding infrastructure there. Plenty of major airlines already have some presence there all be it smaller scale. It already has the express link into the city which could be beefed up.

The situation that Silky describes above whereby flying from Manchester requires a hop to Heathrow to connect is needlessly exacerbating Heathrow's problems. No reason not to beef up the Leeds/Manchester airport also, they already have a 2030 expansion plan so the government should support them in that and push it forward.

There are plenty of concerns over the environmental impact of emissions from the aircraft at a time when we should be cutting our impact. Currently every major aero company in the world is furiously working away on alternative greener propulsion systems for aircraft. Boeing and NASA reckon they could have liquified natural gas aircraft engines working and in production for 2040. Clearly no one expects air travel to decrease any time soon, runways last for a couple of decades and the airport footprint and infrastructure that goes with them lasts several decades. Start getting it right now and we'll set ourselves up for whatever comes next.
 

Cheese & Biscuits

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Gatwick is a pain to get to for most people though. Anyone from north of London has to do half a loop of the M25 and a stretch on the M23. Gatwick is better from an expansion POV but it exacerbates the London-centric view as for non-Londoners/South people it's an awful location. Heathrow is much better.
 

silkyman

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I think Heathrow needs another runway but I also agree we should be expanding non-London airport capacity in some way too.

Let's be honest here, how many people would rather fly to Birmingham and jump on a train to London than fly there direct? Not many I bet. Millions of people use London airports for a reason.

Creating a Northern hub around Leeds/Manchester with good transport links to Birmingham, Newcastle and the East Midlands would be good but it'd cost an absolute fortune for the benefit.

Most people who fly to London want to go to London and while that's the case, Heathrow is the only real option as the others are a bugger to get to for most people.
Not everyone does. There are plenty who fly into London simply because that's the only place the outward flight is coming from. You have to jump on a train from Heathrow so if you're coming into the country, what real difference does it make if you squeeze on the tube for an hour or you spend 40 minutes on a high speed link?

But my main point is the 'hub' aspect needing more flights than necessary. But if you HAVE to have a shuttle flight before getting on your actual flight, why does it have to be to Heathrow? Why not hop from Newcastle to Manchester and fly from there, or Manchester to Edinburgh. If you centralise it all around London it just adds pressure to the most congested area.
 

HertsWolf

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#7
It seems ridiculous. There is perfectly good available runway and terminal space very close to major rail lines in and around the whole of the south east and the Midlands.

Spend the billions of pounds on massively improving the rail and road links that passes Birmingham Airport and East Midlands so that you can reach them in 45 minutes from the centre of London/Manchester/Yorkshire (straightforward technology these days), link Southampton Airport to Heathrow (possibly no more than 30 mins by high-speed train and you could trip over a bag getting off a southbound train at Parkway and end up in the departure lounge) and extend CrossRail to include Southend Airport. That's probably tripled the capacity and spread the job loading (construction and operations) into around eight counties and created massive economic opportunities for those who don't fly as much.

There's absolutely no reason we can't link half of our UK airports into one hub and spoke network.
 

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