To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to Table 3.7 of the Department for Transport’s Updated Appraisal Report Airport Capacity in the South East and pursuant to his statement to the House of 5 June 2018 on Airports National Policy Statement, Official Report, column 169, what the evidential basis is that the measures in the Airports National Policy Statement would enable regional airports to increase their number of flights.
A Northwest Runway at Heathrow will improve the UK’s connectivity, with more frequent services to important destinations around the world, providing benefits for passengers and freight-operators across the UK. While Heathrow expansion will help to secure the UK’s status as a global aviation hub, we will also see airports across the country continuing to develop their point-to-point networks.
The table referred to shows that passenger numbers at airports outside of London are expected to increase by 80 per cent between 2016 and 2050 with a third runway at Heathrow, with the equivalent increase in flights being 71 per cent. The Government recognises that all three schemes for expansion in the South East are projected to result in regional airports experiencing lower growth in flights than they would have otherwise seen without expansion, but there is still expected to be strong growth at non-London airports relative to today.
Crucially, the Department’s forecasts do not take into account the ability of the scheme promoter and Government to strengthen specific routes, or other measures to enhance regional connectivity. In addition, the modelling does not take account of future commercial strategies that individual airports could employ to take advantage of the opportunities from both growing demand outside of London and the greater connections offered by an expanded Heathrow. Therefore, it is not surprising that Heathrow expansion is supported by a range of UK airports across all parts of the country, including Liverpool-John Lennon, Glasgow and Newquay.