A THIRD runway at Heathrow will have only minimal benefit for Scotland, which would be better served by building a four-runway airport in London, according to the latest research.
It says a new airport would have a greater impact on jobs, flights and economic growth than expansion of either Heathrow or Gatwick by adding five flights a day for Edinburgh and four from Glasgow by 2050.
The report Making Connections by York Aviation and Oxford Economics, published today and commissioned by Transport for London, comes as the Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, is deciding which option to recommend for airport expansion in the south-east. Either Heathrow or Gatwick remains most likely to get the nod.
However, Oxford Economics says a new airport would mean more connections and in Edinburgh would add £451 million in gross value added (GVA) and create 2,590 jobs, mostly concentrated in financial and insurance services. Glasgow would gain 2,620 jobs in the same sector and £358m in additional GVA.
The authors argue that Heathrow serves the nations and regions of the UK poorly and suggest that only a new hub would ensure regular connections to London.
They say that if no expansion is undertaken, Edinburgh would lose nine daily flights and four if Heathrow was to construct a new runway.
Louise Congdon, managing partner at York Aviation, said: “There is no doubt that of all the options for expansion currently under consideration by the Airports Commission, a new four-runway hub airport would provide the nations and regions with the best connectivity to the UK’s main international airport.”
Ms Congdon added: “It might surprise some people that a third runway at Heathrow will do little to improve regional connectivity and [will] not support any new routes due to commercial pressures on airlines.”
Commenting on the new report, the Mayor of London’s chief advisor on aviation, Daniel Moylan, said: “The current expansion debate must not be allowed to become simply a matter of where to build a new strip of tarmac in the south-east.
The report nails the lie that a third runway would help the cities and regions that Heathrow has left behind. It won’t. It will be full within two or three years of opening and just as now airlines will be forced to concentrate on their most profitable long-haul routes.
“I hope the Airports Commission studies the report in detail and takes into account the economic needs of the UK as a whole when preparing its final report.”
Liz Cameron, chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “Scottish businesses are looking internationally for growth opportunities and we need a sensible combination of direct air routes and access to hub airport capacity to realise our ambitions. Air infrastructure solutions for south-east England will be of little benefit to Scotland if we are not better connected to it.”