September 2022, Virtual
September 29 2022, Virtual
Now in its 27th year, the Business Travel Awards
Heathrow’s CEO has apologised to local residents for the airport’s previous promise that it would not build a third runway.
John Holland-Kaye said he was “shocked” by the commitment made 20 years ago by Heathrow’s previous owners BAA, which committed to permanently ruling out a third runway at the airport.
His comments came during a public consultation meeting organised by the Airports Commission, which is deciding the best options for airport expansion in the south east. The three options are a third runway at Heathrow, lengthening an existing runway at Heathrow and a second runway at Gatwick.
“As I have spoken to local people about our plans for the future, many have pointed to a commitment made by BAA and Heathrow in the past,” said Holland-Kaye.
“I have read the community leaflets distributed by the airport almost 20 years ago which committed to permanently rule out a third runway at Heathrow.
“I am shocked by that commitment. It should never have been made. And it could never be kept.
“That is not an excuse. It is an apology. I am sorry Heathrow made that commitment.”
Holland-Kaye said the debate has “hung over the relationship” with local communities and has led to a “deficit of trust” that can only be changed by showing Heathrow has changed.
The meeting is part of the Commission’s 12-week consultation which is inviting public comment on the cost of each proposal, the effect on communities of noise, property loss and construction, and the economic benefits and environmental impacts. It runs until February 3.
The Heathrow boss said expansion should only go ahead within strict environmental limits on local air quality and within the UK’s climate change targets.
“We have developed a plan which will deliver this. This includes providing incentives for people to use public transport, reducing staff car parking spaces and if necessary a congestion charge for people travelling to the airport by car,” he said.
“The Commission’s analysis of road traffic and air quality emissions does not yet account for our mitigation measures, but we are confident once they have, it will confirm air quality limits can be met.”
Other improvements revealed by Holland-Kaye include better public transport, improved noise blueprint and better compensation offered to people affected by the new plans.He said a third runway would boost economic growth by up to £211 billion and create up to 180,000 new jobs across the UK.
The Airports Commission is expected to make a decision on which airport it has chosen for expansion after the next general election in May.