The Airports Commission has published its Final report on the 1st of July 2015, which sets out its recommendations to government for expanding aviation capacity in the UK.

The Commission’s analysis shows that expanded airport capacity is crucial for the UK’s long-term prosperity. While each of the 3 schemes shortlisted was considered a credible option for expansion, the Commission has unanimously concluded that the proposal for a new northwest runway at Heathrow Airport, combined with a significant package of measures to address its environmental and community impacts, presents the strongest case and offers the greatest strategic and economic benefits – providing around 40 new destinations from the airport and more than 70,000 new jobs by 2050.

The report describes the strengths and weaknesses of the other short-listed proposals. The Heathrow extended northern runway delivers similar economic benefits, is less costly and requires the loss of fewer homes. But it provides a smaller increase in capacity and is less attractive from a noise and air quality perspective. The Gatwick scheme is feasible, but the additional capacity would be more focused on short-haul intra-European routes and the economic benefits considerably smaller.

In this context two European initiatives have to be mentioned:

  • the HyTEC project, was officially launched to the public at an event hosted by the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority at London’s City Hall on 20 July 2012;
  • the HyER association, it provides its members, i.e. the European Regions and Municipalities,  with a representative body that can be coherent, distinguishable and influential towards all relevant stakeholders and decision-makers at both public and private level.

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