Organisers of the World Travel Market (WTM) recently conducted a survey that found tourism chiefs favoured the expansion of Heathrow Airport’s property, instead of the opening of a new airport.
The WTM is a summit of tourism chiefs that meet to discuss the state of the tourist trade around the globe and make plans for the future. Today sees the launch of the 2012 summit in London.
World Travel Market director Simon Press said: “It is clear that senior travel executives from around the globe are in favour of expanding the UK’s primary airport with a third runway at Heathrow.
“Expanding other airports in south-east England is more popular than building a new airport which suggests that our overseas colleagues think the UK Government should steer clear from an ambitious if expensive solution when there are better options available.”
Another option for Davies to consider was the construction of a new airport to the west of Heathrow, most likely on the Thames Estuary, which is strongly favoured by London Mayor Boris Johnson.
However, if a new runway were to be agreed, it would have to be postponed until after the next general election. The Coalition Agreement of the current government has vetoed the construction of additional runways at Gatwick, Stanstead and Heathrow.
The WTM found that only 20% of 1,300 senior executives believe that a new airport along the Thames Estuary is the correct solution to the UK’s growing airport capacity issues. While 34% were in favour of a third runway at Heathrow.
A change in policy from the current government could see a rebellion from some Conservative MPs who are strongly against the development of a third runway. Prime Minister David Cameron has claimed that Johnson is wrong to dismiss the idea out of hand, but several Tory MPs have voiced concerns about a U-turn from Cameron on the runway expansion.
Howard’s findings have yet to be published or support one definitive solution, but he told The Observer; "I observe the political debate swirling around this, but I don't think it makes sense to get involved in it. We have been told that all options, including the third runway, are on the table, and for the moment that is where they shall remain”.