Impatient UK Forwarders Weigh in on Airport Expansion Delays

Impatient UK Forwarders Weigh in on Airport Expansion Delays

Freight forwarders in the United Kingdom who are frustrated by the lack of progress in the expansion plans for the country’s airports are mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore. This was the gist of a statement made this week by the British International Freight Association (BIFA) in support of criticism lodged at the U.K. by the House of Commons Transport Committee.

“The 1,500 companies within BIFA share the Transport Committee’s belief that the delay risks damaging U.K. economic growth by deterring investors uncertain about the future of Britain’s communications,” said Robert Keen, BIFA’s director general. “BIFA agrees with the Transport Committee that the UK must stop ‘dithering’, make a decision and set out a timetable for completing the project.”

The earlier statement by the Transport Committee criticized the government for dragging the decision process out over whether to add new runways to Heathrow or Gatwick airports over several months when the Airports Commission had already recommended last year that Heathrow would be the best expansion option.

Airport operator Heathrow Airport Limited has also presented a proposal for how it can exceed the Airports Commission’s conditions for expansion and urged the Prime Minister to give the green light for a third runway at the nation’s busiest and highly congested airport.

“Like the Transport Committee, we accept that the package of measures to mitigate environmental impacts needs careful consideration and further work,” Keen continued. “We do not accept that all of this needs to be done before a decision is taken on location. In fact, a decision on location would give more focus and impetus to this work.”

Any further delays, Keen said, could have serious economic consequences. “Five months on,” he added, “the U.K.’s freight forwarding community, which is the engine of Britain’s international trade, is still waiting for the Government to stop playing political football with the issue of aviation capacity and make a decision.”

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