1. Basic information about London Heathrow
The biggest airport in the United Kingdom is really impressive. With a size of 1,227 hectares, two runways, five terminals, 65,7 million passengers arriving and departing in 2010 and as one of the biggest employer with over 76.000 employees, London Heathrow is the biggest airport in Europe and Britain’s most important hub airport (BAA 2011).
2. Motivations: Why is a third runway necessary?
Due to the globalization, Heathrow airport with his two runways competes with other big European airports such as Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, Netherlands and Airport Charles de Gaulle in Paris, France. Both airports have massively expanded during the last years: Schiphol operates with six and Charles de Gaulle with four runways (BBC News, 2007). Today London Heathrow airport already operates at its capacity limit and flight delays are normality (Economist, 2011). To be attractive for airlines with their flight paths in the future and increasing passenger numbers each year, a new runway would give Heathrow a competitive advantage and would make the UK a more attractive place for mobile international business (Dept for Transport, 2009).
3. Advantages and disadvantages of a third runway
Supporters of the project, like airlines, trade bodies and the Labour party argue that more jobs will be created around the airport, in the city of London and that the waiting time for passengers will be reduced (Telegraph, 2010; British Chambers of Commerce, 2009). Additionally a study which was published by the BBC showed that £30 billion would be added to the British economy, because of the third runway. (British Chambers of Commerce, 2009). The head of British government, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who was holding office from 2007-2010, shared this view and supported the project, in contrast to some Labour MPs (Kirkup, 2009). The credo was: A third runway will be a strong secure for the long term...