A Thames Estuary airport would worsen the UK’s economic dilemma as the country’s competitiveness continues to be compromised by the lack of capacity at Heathrow, Coyne Airways’ CEO said.
Larry Coyne told guests at Coyne Airways’ 20th anniversary celebrations in London that instead of constructing a new airport, a third runway at Heathrow should be built to prevent cargo capacity from being frozen and the UK losing out to hubs in mainland Europe.
Just under half of the UK’s exports by value go by air. Heathrow processes around 65 percent of the UK’s air cargo traffic.
“A modest cargo growth of 3 percent per annum between now and then would mean a further 51 percent cargo capacity would be needed to cope,” Coyne said. “That happens to be the amount of extra capacity in flight terms that Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Madrid currently enjoy over Heathrow.”
He said an airport in the Thames Estuary would be poorly positioned because London would be in between the new hub and the nation’s main source of manufacturing in the Midlands.
“For many, it would entail writing off their investment in facilities extending all along the Thames valley, and either moving thousands of employees or recruiting and training new ones,” Coyne said.
Coyne called on the government to make decisions to secure the future of air transport in the UK.