Chapman Freeborn blog

Potential third runway at Heathrow Airport

Heathrow is a major international airport located to the west of London and it is currently the busiest airport in the United Kingdom. In 2014 alone it saw more than 73 million passengers pass through its terminals.

There has been much talk recently of the proposals to add a controversial third runway at Heathrow, which has been recommended by the Airports Commission.

Almost 300 businesses have written to Prime Minister David Cameron to urge the government to act for the future of Britain’s economy as they argue that a third runway is necessary for growth. It is thought that the expansion of Heathrow would bring in up to 14 billion pounds worth of economic benefits by 2050 and it would create up to 16,100 jobs in the same period.

Around 80% of long haul routes and almost 65% of Britain’s airfreight travels through Heathrow, and the argument for the expansion is on the basis that it is crucial for the success of UK businesses.


Heathrow is Britain’s largest port and handles a quarter of UK exports to global markets. It has been estimated that the lack of current capacity at Heathrow is already costing the country up to 15 billions pounds in trade every single year as well as thousands of potential jobs for skilled workers across the country.

The addition of a third runway at Heathrow airport would allow more flights to take off and land at Heathrow and link London more readily to trade opportunities in Europe, Asia and America.

Much of the opposition to the proposed plans for a third runway have come from the nearby residents in places such as Cranford, Hounslow, Harlington, Longford, Stanwell, Bedfont, Hatton and Harmondsworth.

Three villages would have to be partially destroyed in order to create room for the third runway, and this would see the removal of people’s homes and even a primary school.


Many are also against the addition of a third runway at Heathrow due to the impact they believe it will have on the environment. There has been evidence that if aviation growth is not reduced by 2037 then all of the carbon that it is safe for the UK to emit will come from flying alone.

The British government has indicated that there will be a clear decision made on whether to bake a third runway at Heathrow or not by the end of this year.

Along with Heathrow there are 5 other airports serving London – London City, Gatwick, Stanstead, Southend and Luton. Passengers wishing to charter a jet to London may choose to do so via Farnborough Airport and London Biggin Hill Airport.


Images courtesy of: Warren RohnerMariordoPhillip Capper