Following the release of the Airports Commission shortlist that recommends expansion at either Gatwick or Heathrow, the latest ABTA research reveals that almost half (45%) of the travelling public agree that there should be a new runway at either Gatwick and Heathrow, with 16% not welcoming either option and 39% neutral.
The Airports Commission has now shortlisted three options for airport expansion in the South East of England; a third runway at Heathrow, an extension to one of the current runways, or a second runway at Gatwick and has opened a 12-week public consultation.
As well as positive public sentiment, there is also a clear understanding in parliament for the need for urgent action on airport capacity, with additional ABTA research finding that 71% of MPs agree that the UK will be left behind if there is no clear, imminent plan on expansion.
The association's chief executive, Mark Tanzer, said: “It is encouraging that the public and politicians alike recognise the need for increased airport capacity. With more people welcoming new runways than opposing them the pressure is surely on for the Government to take a clear plan forward once the Airports Commission delivers its final recommendation next summer.
“There are undoubtedly concerns over noise and environmental impacts, as well as the costs of delivery and these must be openly discussed as part of this consultation. But, in our view the case for additional capacity is overwhelming – and will be fundamental to ensuring vital growth and jobs for the longer term.
“It’s essential now that we are transparent about the benefits of expansion and mindful of the huge risks we face as a country to our prosperity and competitiveness if urgent action to deliver capacity isn’t prioritised in the next Parliament.”