Stansted owner MAG calls for market to determine airport expansion

The main terminal building at Stansted Airport

The main terminal building at Stansted Airport - Credit: Archant

The owner of Stansted Airport has called on the Government to prioritise schemes to make best use of the UK’s existing airport capacity, after a decision on building a new runway in the South-East was again postponed.

Following a previous deferment in December, for further investigation into noise, pollution and compensation, David Cameron had been expected to announce a decision on whether to build a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick after the European Union referendum.

But, one day short of a year since the Davies Commission recommended the building of a third runway at Heathrow, and in the wake of Mr Cameron’s resingation following the vote for “Brexit”, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin yesterday announced a further delay.

He told the House of Commons: “I had hoped that we would be able to announce a decision on airport capacity this summer. Clearly any announcement on airport capacity would have to be made when the House is in session and being realistic, given recent events, I cannot now foresee an announcement until at least October.”

Heathrow and Gatwick responded to the news by restating their cases for expansion.

In a statement, Heathrow said: “Government can send the strongest possible signal that Britain is open for business and confident in its future by expanding Heathrow.”

And Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said “When we look at whoever the next leader is, our intention will be simply to continue to press the merits of our case because we simply think we’ve got the strongest case.”

Most Read

But Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which owns Stansted, called for Ministers to help make the most of existing airport capacity and to let the market decide on expansion.

“Today’s delay again highlights why Government must give priority to accelerating measures to make best use of the runway capacity this country already has, such as improving rail links to Stansted,” a spokesman for MAG said.

“With no resolution in sight, now is also the time for Government to step back from the decision on runway capacity and let the market decide where and when new capacity should be delivered. Competition will always provide the best outcome for passengers and airlines.”