Third Heathrow runway is ‘necessary’

Qatar Airways CEO says that construction of a third runway is vital for British economy

Qatar Airways’ CEO has called on Heathrow to build a third runway as a matter of necessity.

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The British government will need to build a third runway to help address capacity constraints at the world’s busiest airport, Qatar Airways’ CEO said on Thursday.

Speaking at the Aviation Club in London during an industry event, Akbar Al Baker said that the third runway debate was ‘not an option, but a necessity’ to overcome the issues facing Britain’s premier airport.

“Heathrow is bursting at the seams and has already reached a critical point,” Al Baker said. “Already heading towards a double dip recession, the UK cannot afford to lose out on the huge benefits a third runway could bring to the economy in south-east England and the country as whole through the creation of more jobs and more business opportunities.”

“No capacity increase would inevitably lead to further economic hardship with job losses and businesses closing down. Heathrow is already losing out to European neighbouring hubs that have the resources to expand capacity,” he added.

Al Baker stressed that it would be a grave mistake if no immediate investment was made in an industry that continued to experience demand outstripping supply.

“While the proposed idea of a new airport in Kent is a good idea, this is project that will potentially take at least 20 years to materialise if the go-ahead is given today. Can the UK wait 20 years?

“During this period, we will see airports expand significantly across the Continent – and of course in my region,” he added.

Al Baker pointed out that bilateral constraints were compounding the problem.

“(It’s) not just in the UK, but governments around the world need to wake up to the reality of doing business today. Air corridors should be opened up to give passengers more choice,” he explained.

“As we prepare to move to a brand new airport in Doha next year, the opportunities that will present themselves are enormous. But to really take advantage of our new home, we need more services from places like London, to cater to the demand,” he said.


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