LONDON, Sept 7 A decision on whether Britain
will expand airport capacity around London will be taken by the
next government, the country's new transport secretary said on
Friday, meaning a decision is unlikely before 2015.
A commission chaired by former Financial Services Authority
head Howard Davies to analyse ways to expand airport capacity in
southeast England will report in the summer of 2015 after
releasing an interim report next year, Patrick McLoughlin wrote
in his first ministerial statement as transport secretary.
Several options are being considered to increase the
southeast of England's strained airport capacity: a third runway
at London's Heathrow airport; a second at Stansted northeast of
London, or a new airport in the estuary of the river Thames.
"This is a very difficult debate, but the reality is that
since the 1960s Britain has failed to keep pace with our
international competitors in addressing long term aviation
capacity and connectivity needs," wrote McLoughlin.
"A decision on whether to support any of the recommendations
contained in the final report will be taken by the next
Britain's Conservative-led coalition government had ruled
out building a third runway at BAA's
capacity-constrained Heathrow before the next election, in part
to appease the junior Liberal Democrat partners and boost its
However, several Conservative ministers have called for a
third runway to be built at Heathrow.
McLoughlin's appointment as transport secretary earlier this
week - replacing Justine Greening, a vocal critic of a third
runway at Heathrow - signalled it could rethink its opposition
to airport expansion in southeast England.