David Cameron rejects arguments for 3rd runway
Opposition leader David Cameron has savaged prime minister Gordon Brown”s support of a third runway at Heathrow, saying it should be made ”better, not bigger” otherwise passengers will simply desert it.
In a speech to environmental leaders in which he set out the key features of his party”s green agenda ” which it tags its ”Blue/Green” charter ” Cameron said the economic case for expansion does not stack up, questioning the value of the airport”s transit travellers.
"Why on earth are they so hell-bent on pressing ahead with a third runway at Heathrow without a proper and rigorous analysis of whether we need it? Gordon Brown says a third runway for Heathrow is vital for the future of our economy - that we won't be able to compete without it.
"The case for a third runway is based on Heathrow as an even bigger hub airport with a massive increase in the number of transfer passengers. The economic value of transfer passengers is hotly disputed.”
Cameron added that the hub model had ”contributed to the bankruptcy of almost every US airline that has gone out of business in recent years” and to ”European failures such as [previous Belgian flag carrier] Sabena,” and gave a damning verdict of BAA”s competency.
"Faced with airport inefficiencies like missed connections, lost baggage and delayed flights, passengers will vote with their feet and go elsewhere,” he said. ”After the recent fiasco at Terminal 5, there must be severe doubt about whether the Government and BAA are even capable of managing the expansion of Heathrow to cope with more 700,000 flights a year by 2030.
"I think the whole country can agree that the most important priority for Heathrow is making it better, not bigger - and yet Gordon Brown is pig-headedly pursuing a third runway just to try and prove a political point.”
BAA chiefs will be shaken to hear Cameron”s immediate remedy ” ”The important decisions for our economic competitiveness - and for ending the national embarrassment of the state of Heathrow - are the competition issues around BAA, looking at how our airports are managed, and seeing what can be done to make them better.”
The Competition Commission reported in April that it believes there is greater scope for competition in the South East and Scotland, and will decide in August how to move forward.
The government is in favour of a third runway with a consultation process slated to end this November.
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