‘New airport hub must be built off-shore’ says Saffron Walden MP in wake of Davies Report

Sir Alan Haselhurst

Sir Alan Haselhurst - Credit: Archant

Saffron Walden’s MP has welcomed the Airport Commission’s Interim Report which was published yesterday (Tuesday, December 17).

The commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, has been tasked with looking at future airport capacity. Stansted Airport does not feature in the current shortlist of options which includes two different plans for Heathrow and a second runway at Gatwick.

A Thames Estuary airport is also a possibility and this will be reviewed next summer.

Sir Alan said: “Stansted Airport is not the answer to the UK’s future airport capacity problem. Passenger numbers in recent years have declined at Stansted resulting in the airport using less than 50 per cent of its capacity.

“Under the new ownership of Manchester Airports Group, fresh deals with airlines using Stansted have been signed which is good news for securing local jobs. Sir Howard himself highlighted in the report that transport links to Stansted are poor and this is something he believes could be improved upon now in order to make access to the airport easier for passengers.

“This is something that commuters from the local area would also benefit from since they face a daily battle with the current railway line which serves London, Stansted Airport and Cambridge – I will continue to press the Government on investing in the West Anglia line.”

Sir Alan added: “It has been my belief, since I was a Member of Parliament for a Manchester constituency in the 1970s, that a new hub airport must be built off-shore. I fully support an Estuary airport.

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“We must keep up with world-leading airports such as Charles De Gaulle, Schiphol and Dubai. Kicking the issue of building a hub airport into the long grass only allows business to slip through our hands and into neighbouring countries.

“With a Thames Estuary airport, round-the-clock flights would be possible and from a safety perspective, it makes much more sense for planes to fly over water as opposed to a highly-populated city.

“I hope that the Commission will look seriously at an Estuary airport in the coming months, but in the meantime, I will carry on fighting against a second runway at Stansted Airport until a long-term solution has been agreed for future aviation capacity in the south-east.”

The commission is due to publish its full report in 2015.