This country’s willingness to fritter away London’s hub airport status is an act of economic self-harm as the Conservative side of the government finally seems to have realised. But there’ll be no progress this side of the election as long as the Liberal Democrats remain wedded to their opposition to any new runways in the south east. So, the news in today’s Times that the Liberal Democrats are considering backing a new hub airport in exchange for the closure of other runways is to be welcomed.
I understand that things may be even further on than the conference motion suggests. I’m informed that Nick Clegg has seen a Cabinet Office paper making the case for a four-runway airport at Stansted and has not dismissed the idea out of hand. The argument for a four runway airport at Stansted is that it could be developed quicker than an entirely new airport and that it would be easier to upgrade its transport links into London than to create ones for a Thames Estuary airport.
What’s clear is that Britain needs to get on with deciding on an aviation strategy. In an age in which trade follows the flight path, it is short-sighted in the extreme not to expand our links to some of the fastest growing parts of the global economy.Tags: Airports, Nick Clegg, UK politics