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Heathrow airport is by far the largest airport in the UK and from January 2009 to September actually had moved into second spot above O’Hare Chicago in the world passenger rankings although still considerably behind Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta which is driven by international visitors to Disney and being the gateway for North Americans seeking warmer climes in Florida and surrounding area in the winter and summer tourists.
Heathrow the airport for the year ending December 2009 showed a fall of –1.5% to 65.9 million this is one of the best performances of any major airport throughout the world and for the month of December the airport actually managed to increase passenger numbers by 1.5% which is particularly impressive given the reduction in flights due to snow and ice.
The airport was given further encouragement when finally in January 2009 the labour government gave the green light for Heathrow to build a third runway by 2020 that will add 400 flights a day and increase annual passenger numbers from 66 million to 82 million.
Three conditions were attached to this were
- Runway to operate at half capacity
- Strict greenhouse gas emissions standards to apply to all aircraft usuing the new runway.
- Total carbon conditions by 2050 to meet or be below 2005 recorded levels.
The public opposition and green parties have all called foul play and the tories have said they will reverse this decision. The latter by is seen by many commentators as political posturing but the airport owners BAA have delayed putting in a planning application saying the tax payer would have to meet compensation costs if the Tories do reverse the Labour agreement.
Heathrow still remains the number one changeover airport for International travellers that has encouraged a proliferation of hotels to be built near by to meet this demand and if passenger numbers were to increase to 82 million more Heathrow hotel and parking spaces would need to be built along with additional car parks for Heathrow airport parking.
If the Tories due reverse this decision BAA have stated that it would seriously undermine its position in world rankings and the loss of income and jobs the airport both directly and indirectly generates