Proposals for a third runway for Heathrow and a second at Gatwick have been shortlisted by the Airports Commission.
The independent inquiry led by Sir Howard Davies, the former head of the Financial Services Authority, proposed three solutions to deal with the UK’s airport capacity problem.
According to the report, a third runway to the north of Heathrow, Heathrow Hub group’s proposal for Heathrow expansion and a new second runway to the south of Gatwick, are the three most viable options
London Mayor Boris Johnson’s plans of building an airport in the Thames Estuary were not included in the report. However, the commission is expected to reassess more options later next year.
The report found that to cope with the number of passengers flying into the UK, one of the new runways must be operational by 2030 and a second runway should be ready by 2050.
Launching the report, Davies said: “Decisions on airport capacity are important national strategic choices and must be based upon the best evidence available. The commission has undertaken a fresh, comprehensive and transparent study of the issues. This report is the product of extensive consultation, independent analysis and careful consideration by the commissioners.
“The UK enjoys excellent connectivity today. The capacity challenge is not yet critical but it will become so if no action is taken soon and our analysis clearly supports the provision of one net additional runway by 2030. In the meantime we encourage the government to act on our recommendations to make the best of our existing capacity.
“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 Airport Commission will submit its final report after the next General Election in 2015.