24 January 2009

A third runway for London Heathrow?

In all the coverage of the UK Government's decision announced on 15 January 2009 to allow the go ahead of a process to construct a short third runway for Heathrow airport (LHR)(the Guardian, for example, has extensive coverage and GreenAir has a comprehensive report NEW with links), there has been some interesting analysis that goes beyond the expected reporting of NIMBYism and the kind of band-wagon environmentalism that saw the doors of the Department for Transport in London broken (the planned Heathrow expansion is certainly a lightning rod for wider concerns about climate change).

For example, anna.aero has analysis dated 23 January 2009 showing amongst other things the decline in the share of domestic air travel through Heathrow.

In a 27 May 2008 article The Economist took a critical look at the proposal.

The Liberty Scott weblog argues that transit traffic would simply fly from other airports if Heathrow is not expanded. On 16 January 2009 Aviation Week reported NEW that Frankfurt Airport NEW has just gained court approval for a fourth runway (for landings only)(see Information on Airport Expansion NEW for more details).

One of the more interesting plans is to also directly link Heathrow airport into the high-speed rail services network as is already the case with some other major airports around the world. This idea of creating a rail "hub" at Heathrow was the subject of a proposal by Arup, an engineering consultancy, announced on 16 May 2008.

Even here though there are questions with a 23 January 2009 posting on The Economist's Gulliver weblog looking at emissions from high-speed rail compared with aviation and pointing to a 22 January 2009 article in the Guardian by Fred Pearce.

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