Do we really need expansion at Heathrow?


Yes, we do!

Heathrow is Europe's busiest airport, the 8th busiest airport in the world in 2022 - just one place below its pre-COVID position. Yet, Heathrow is constrained by having only 2 runways.

For comparison, Heathrow's competitor airports; Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam all have at least four, allowing them to serve more destinations than Heathrow could and reducing the UK's attraction as a commercial and tourism hub.                   

With constrained capacity, our supply chains will suffer too. 78% of all UK air cargo passes through Heathrow, including the export of British manufactured goods such as medical machinery and hi-tech goods. That means, if delays stack up, and destinations dry up, British manufacturing will suffer.

But can't we just expand Gatwick?


Expanding Gatwick won't provide the same benefits as expanding Heathrow. The demand is at Heathrow, so expanding Gatwick would require waiting for demand, airlines and their infrastructure to shift from Heathrow to Gatwick. Plus, the logistic handling capability is already at Heathrow, because more than 200 of the top 300 companies in the UK already have headquarters within 25 miles of Heathrow.

Expanding regional airports also will have little effect. Passenger demand is greatest in London, so it would make no commercial sense for an airline to move the bulk of their operations to a larger regional airport - even if there was space for more flights.

But what about the noise and the Environment?


Our position at Back Heathrow is simple; we support expansion, but not at any cost. Heathrow is committed to meet tough air-quality and environmental targets, including reaching net-zero by 2050, and we believe the airport can meet them by:

  • Championing the use of sustainable aviation fuel (jet fuel made from plants and feedstock instead of kerosene) in aircraft. These green fuels are ready to use in flights today and can cut carbon emissions by 80% over the lifecycle of the fuel and improve local air quality
  • Increasing landing charges on older aircraft to encourage cleaner and quieter planes to serve Heathrow
  • Monitoring the deployment of landing gear to reduce noise, finding the best angles of descent to avoid disruption at night and extend the night time flight-free period to four and a half hours (between midnight and 4.30am) from 2025
  • Offering a 100% compensation scheme to 20,000 households to insulate their homes from the noise of passing aircraft
  • Improving rail links to the airport from places like Slough and Reading to reduce traffic pollution from the thousands of passengers and staff that travel to Heathrow
  • Introduce zero-emission hydrogen and electric aircraft in the longer-term - aerospace manufacturers Rolls-Royce and Airbus aim to introduce hydrogen powered aircraft by 2035, with water as the only by-product.

To read more about Heathrow's work on becoming a better neighbour, click here.

You can also find out here how the aviation industry intends to reach net-zero by 2050.

Alright, but what's happening now with expansion?


After getting the green light from Parliament in 2018 and the High Court in 2020, Heathrow's expansion plans were slowed due to the severe reduction in global flights upon the onset of the pandemic. 

That recovery process is still ongoing, so don't forget to sign-up to Back Heathrow to keep up-to-date with the latest airport related news.

How do I get involved?


We would love to see you join us at Back Heathrow!

To get on board with the campaign, simply click here and fill out your name and email address to be added to our mailing list.