Heathrow has won the argument that it should have a third runway, a spokesman for the airport has claimed.
Speaking as Heathrow gears up to open the new Terminal 2 on Wednesday, Nigel Milton, Heathrow’s director of policy and political relations, told the GTMC conference in Marrakech: “At the moment, we are confident we will get permission for it.”
The Davies Commission will decide whether to back expansion at Gatwick, Heathrow or a Thames Estuary airport next summer, after the general election. Milton said “very few people” saw the latter option as viable but admitted that a third runway would be effective only until 2040-2050.
“After that it is difficult to predict what aviation will be like.”
This year was a landmark, he said, because London had lost its crown as the home of the world’s biggest port or airport after 350 years. “This year, Dubai has overtaken it. We can either accept that or say that does matter, we need to be adding new markets, new areas of the globe.”
Milton said lessons had been learned from the disastrous opening of Heathrow’s Terminal 5 and that Wednesday’s event would see just 17 flights dealt with at Terminal 2, but admitted: “We have got to remember that it could go wrong.”
Terminal 2 will be fully operational by November, meaning that 60% of the airport’s passengers would use either it or Terminal 5.
“The aspiration is for T2 to be as good or better,” he said.