The Airports Commission’s independent review into airport capacity and connectivity in the UK has concluded that there is a need for one net additional runway to be in operation in the south east by 2030. Its analysis also indicates that there is likely to be a demand case for a second additional runway to be operational by 2050. The Airports Commission’s interim report published today (17 December 2013) has announced that it will be taking forward for further detailed study proposals for new runways at two location
Gatwick Airport Ltd’s proposal for a new runway to the south of the existing runway
Heathrow Airport (two options)
Heathrow Airport Ltd’s proposal for one new 3,500m runway to the northwest
Heathrow Hub’s proposal to extend the existing northern runway to at least 6,000m, enabling the extended runway to operate as two independent runways.
The next phase of its work will see the Commission undertaking a detailed appraisal of the three options identified before a public consultation in autumn next year.
The Commission has not shortlisted any of the Thames Estuary options. It states that it has not done this because there are too many uncertainties and challenges surrounding them at this stage. It will undertake further study of the Isle of Grain option in the first half of 2014 and will reach a view later next year on whether that option offers a credible proposal for consideration alongside the other short-listed options.
The Commission has not shortlisted proposals for expansion at Stansted or Birmingham Airports, however the Commission states that it believes there is a case for considering them as potential options for any second new runway by 2050. In its final report the Commission will set out its recommendations on the process for decision making on additional capacity beyond 2030. The report also contains recommendations to the government for immediate action to improve the use of existing runway capacity.
an ‘optimisation strategy’ to improve the operational efficiency of UK airports and airspace, including;
- airport collaborative decision making
- airspace changes supporting performance based navigation
- enhanced en-route traffic management to drive tighter adherence to schedules
- time based separation
a package of surface transport improvements to make airports with spare capacity more attractive to airlines and passengers, including;
- the enhancement of Gatwick Airport Station
- further work to develop a strategy for enhancing Gatwick’s road and rail access
- work on developing proposals to improve the rail link between London and Stansted
- work to provide rail access into Heathrow from the south
- the provision of smart ticketing facilities at airport stations
trials at Heathrow of measures to smooth the early morning arrival schedule to minimise stacking and delays and to provide more predictable respite for local people;
the establishment of an Independent Noise Authority to provide expert and impartial advice about the noise impacts of aviation and to facilitate the delivery of future improvements to airspace operations.
The Commission will now focus on the challenge of appraising the three options, further assessing the case for a new airport in the Thames Estuary, and delivering a robust final recommendation to government in summer 2015.
The report sets out how well connected the UK is currently; how effectively the UK aviation industry has innovated and adapted to change and emerging capacity constraints; and how new aircraft, new markets and the need to address climate change will present new opportunities and challenges. The report identifies that negative impacts are likely to proliferate as capacity constraints intensify, including in the areas of resilience, connectivity, economic growth and passenger experience.
To inform its assessment of need the Commission has improved how future aviation demand is forecast. It has reviewed the assumptions in the existing model, considered the impact of a carbon constraint to take account of the UK’s current environmental commitments and employed scenario testing to evaluate its key conclusions. The Commission also considered whether the UK requires additional hub or non-hub capacity. It has concluded that the UK will need an airport system that can support both hub and non-hub capacity, and cater for a range of airline business models.