Does Heathrow need third runway?

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Yes, according to Colin Matthews, the new chief executive of airport operator, BAA.

In the first major speech in his new role, Matthews acknowledged to the Transport Times Conference the damage to BAA caused by the disastrous opening of Terminal 5 and stressed the need for a third runway at Heathrow.

“Reliability depends on capacity, and on that the figures speak for themselves. Heathrow operates at over 99%. Schiphol, and other European airports, at a maximum of 75%. They have three, four or five runways. We have had two since the Second World War,” said Matthews.

He argued that extra runway capacity in addition to new facilities were necessary to improve the quality of service on offer at the world's busiest international airport. Matthews dismissed the suggestion to move the airport to the Thames estuary, referring to the destructive environmental impact of such a development.

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