PM must put the economy above politics regarding Heathrow expansion



Examining the structural flaws in the NHS

Press Release

How healthy living is costing us more in the long term

IEA reaction to delayed airport expansion decision

Commenting on this evening’s announcement from the Prime Minister that a decision on Heathrow expansion will now be delayed until a later date, Mark Littlewood, Director General at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said: 

“With both Heathrow and Gatwick airports nearing capacity, and with demand set to double, there should be no question that the government should give the green light to airport expansion. London is already lagging well behind other European cities such as Paris and Frankfurt which enjoy 1,000 more annual flights to the three largest cities in China in comparison to Heathrow. And China itself, one of the fastest growing economies in the world, is set to build 17 new runways over the course of the next 20 years.”

“The UK has not extended airport capacity since the end of the Second World War and with demand now pricing people out of the aviation market, it’s crucial politicians stop hampering market processes. Airport operators need to be able to circumnavigate Westminster and independently find a mechanism by which those affected by noise pollution and the like are compensated.”

The private sector is chomping at the bit to expand our airports. The government must stop navel-gazing and put the interests of passengers and the economy first.”

Notes to editors:

To arrange an interview, please contact Nerissa Chesterfield, Communications Officer: or 07791 390 268

In December 2013 the IEA published Depoliticising Airport Expansion: Market-Orientated Responses to the Global and Local Externalities of Aviation, which can be downloaded here

The paper developed proposals for how to move the airport capacity debate out of the government’s hands. The research proposed the abolition of either Air Passenger Duty or the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, and called for the creation of compensation incentives and a broad decentralisation of the tax system.

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.

The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.