Green light for Heathrow expansion
After 25 years of wrangling the British government has decided to build a third runway at London's Heathrow airport. It will cost an estimated 20 million euro and open in 2025 at the earliest. The new piste at Europe's largest airport sends an important message after the Brexit vote, some commentators say. For others, this is the wrong airport to expand.
An important signal from London to the world
The decision to build a third runway at Heathrow is good news for Greater London at a difficult time, writes The Evening Standard:
“Brexit has given a new urgency to this decision. It is more important than ever that Britain should signal to the world that it is open for business and that London in particular is a centre for global trade. The announcement is an expression of the government’s determination that London should be more outward-looking, not less, post-Brexit. This decision is an indication of confidence in the future, and can generate a mood and momentum of its own. ... It will be years before planes land on the third runway at Heathrow but the very fact we now know where we stand makes a real difference.”
Expanding the wrong airport
Economically speaking, it makes a lot more sense to expand London Gatwick airport, the Independent contends:
“The economic case for an increase in airport capacity in the South East is strong – and if demand does continue to increase as projected then many of the benefits will indeed flow to travellers. But the case does not rest on Britain hosting a global plane-changing hub and nor does it rest solely on facilitating more business travel.The residents of west London will lead the charge to overturn the Heathrow decision. But the case against expanding the airport is not made by the inconvenience of local residents, but by the fact that the economic case for choosing to allow Gatwick to expand instead was – and remains – stronger.”