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CLARA MOSCHINI

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IATA: airport expansion plans at Heathrow

"The right place, at the wrong price"

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the UK Transport Select Committee’s endorsement of Heathrow as the right location to expand airport capacity, but warned that the costs could still spiral out of control. IATA also welcomed the Committee’s recommendations that the government consider giving the Civil Aviation Authority greater powers to regulate Heathrow’s passenger and airline charges, and that these charges be held flat in real terms.

The Report is clear that Heathrow airport charges are the highest in the world, and that any expansion of the airport must be accompanied by a commitment that charges will not rise from the current level. Such a commitment would be in line with comments from the Secretary of State that charges should stay at today’s levels.

Costs for constructing the new runway could spiral out of control.

Connectivity under threat 
The operational flexibility that enables airlines to provide connections to some of the world’s largest and fastest-growing economies is under threat. In particular, the proposal to instate a ban on flights in the early morning will damage the connectivity of the UK economy. It also weakens the economic case for the new runway.

Airlines are acutely aware of the noise impacts on local communities. The third runway opens up the possibility of predictable and increased noise respite, through runway rotation, leaving open the option to continue with night-flight connections which are vital to the UK economy.

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