UK Airports Commission reveals options for increasing London's airport capacity

09 Jan 2014

Business travellers visiting London may soon notice some changes on arrival with the UK Airports Commission proposing two options for increasing airport capacity in the city.

The commission has released its interim report for December 2013 outlining an assessment of the options for adding extra capacity and suggestions for better use of the existing airport infrastructure in London.

New runways at Gatwick Airport and Heathrow Airport were the two main options presented by the report.

The Gatwick option proposed a new runway measuring more than 3,000m long to be built south of the existing runway.

Two options for consideration at Heathrow included a new 3,500m runway at the northwest of the airport and with the second option extending the current northern runway out to the west.

This would lengthen the current runway to a total of 6,000m and it would be operated as one separate area for departures and the other for arrivals.

Other alternatives, such as the Thames Estuary airport and Stansted airport, were not considered viable.

While the Thames Estuary option would undoubtedly reduce the noise impact in the area and promote positive economic development for the eastern side of the city, the commission cited expensive challenges and development difficulties as mitigating factors.

The commission avoided shortlisting Stansted capacity options as the airport has experienced a significant drop in passenger volumes recently.

The commission's next step is to produce their final report by 2015, which will set out the recommendations for meeting additional airport demand over the long term.