Heathrow boss insists airport has support for expansion

Heathrow Airport's chief executive has said there remains support 'from Newquay to Inverness' for the government to rule in favour of the airport's expansion over rival Gatwick.

Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye said there was 'no political reason' not to press ahead with a third runway at the airport. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

John Holland‑Kaye also said Theresa May was “showing leadership”, despite the Prime Minister being accused of dithering over the decision on a third runway.

His comments came as Heathrow unveiled a nine-month loss of £293 million after exceptional items – down on a £552m profit in the same period of 2015.

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May confirmed on Tuesday that the UK government’s preferred airport expansion project will be announced next week.

The shortlisted options are a third runway at Heathrow, extending the airport’s existing northern runway, or building a second runway at Gatwick.

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Asked if he had been given any indication that the government was unhappy with anything in Heathrow’s expansion plan, Holland-Kaye replied: “Not at all.”

He added: “There’s no policy reason at all stopping us from getting on with Heathrow. There’s no political reason either because there is massive support in parliament to get on and make it happen.

“Just in the last few days we’ve seen the SNP with their 56 votes come out in support of Heathrow, we’ve seen the Parliamentary Labour Party come out in support, as well as the DUP with their eight MPs. So just there you’ve probably got 250 out of 650 votes before the government even says anything.

“That shows that we’re very politically deliverable as well as being the right national choice.”

Gatwick has said it will remain “ready to deliver” a second runway if the government rejects its proposal, claiming Heathrow expansion is “likely to fail” even if the project gets the go-ahead.