Airports are privately owned companies and make their own infrastructure investment decisions. However, the Department for Transport regards air services to and from the UK as an economic priority, essential for the creation of jobs and growth, which is why the Government announced its preference for expansion at Heathrow and is currently consulting on that preference as part of a draft Airports National Policy Statement.
Expansion at Heathrow Airport would benefit the whole of the UK and would give even more areas access to London and its connections to important international markets, with cities and regions across the UK expected to benefit.
Expansion at Heathrow would ensure the number of services on existing routes increases and allow airlines to offer more frequent new routes to vital emerging markets. This is demonstrated by the forecasts produced by the Airports Commission. Compared to no expansion, the Airports Commission estimated that a Northwest Runway at Heathrow Airport by 2040 would result in 125,000 additional flights a year across the UK as a whole (including 39,000 long haul), and 27 million additional passengers a year.