Newcastle University academic says third Heathrow runway is 'not enough'; Dr Volodymyr Bilotkach has praised the Government's decision but believes more still needs to be done.
Byline: Chris Knight
Aaviation expert claims the decision to build a third runway at Heathrow is 'not enough' to sustain Britain's economic development.
The Government made the long-awaited decision on the airport expansion on Tuesday in a move which has been welcomed by business leaders in the North East.
A third runway means new services will be offered from Durham Tees Valley Airport to Heathrow, while existing services from Newcastle will continue.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has since paid a visit to Millers UK factory into outline the benefits of the decision to the region.
But Dr Volodymyr Bilotkach, a senior lecturer in Economics at Newcastle University Business School, believes a further expansion to the UK's airport capacity is required.
He said: "The decision to expand Heathrow is a positive step towards boosting the UK's economic growth.
"However, one new runway is not enough.
"Both Heathrow and Gatwick are the world's busiest airports currently operating at capacity.
"If growth in air travel demand is to continue as projected, we will come to the situation where airport capacity shortage will impede Britain's economic development, particularly in the southeast. Both airports need expansion.
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"The uncertainty that has clouded the country since the UK's decision to leave the European Union has damaged business confidence and placed a question mark on London's position as a global financial and industrial hub. Whilst the UK is a key economic player on the international stage, we cannot be complacent or rest on our laurels. Therefore, the Government's commitment to invest in infrastructure must be welcomed as a necessity for continued fiscal growth."
The Government has said Heathrow expansion is expected to provide a boost to the wider economy of [pounds sterling]61 billion, and create 77,000 additional local jobs over the next 14 years.
As well as Durham Tees Valley, five other domestic routes have also been created to Belfast international, Liverpool, Newquay, Humberside, and Prestwick.
Prof Bilotkach has praised the Government's initial decision, but is calling for more details on the proposed runway.
Huge boost to North East airports as Heathrow third runway goes ahead
He added: "While I urge the Government to commit to further increase in airport capacity, we also need clarity around implementation of the third runway at Heathrow. There is potential for the market to pay for it without resorting to public funds and it is important that all options are carefully assessed.
"The UK Airports Commission spent a lot of time and effort producing its report, which is clear and comprehensive. Now that a decision has been made, the Government must act on it. Delays will only cause further uncertainty. Moving forward, it is critical for policymakers to communicate with businesses and members of the public to ensure that implementation is successful."
Credit: Heathrow Airport/PA Wire
CGI showing how Heathrow Airport's third runway would pass over a widened M25