Some facts to help you on your way:

Noise and air pollution:

  • A plane lands at Heathrow every 90 seconds
  • 725,000 people live under the Heathrow flight paths, that is, 28% of all people impacted by aircraft noise across Europe
  • A 3rd runway would bring in around 260,000 extra flights a year
  • Air Pollution levels in parts of West London already exceeds the European legal limits
  • A 3rd runway would make Heathrow the biggest single emitter of CO2 – the climate change gas – in the UK

Heathrow today:

  • Heathrow has 990 departure flights each week to the world’s key business centres. That is more than its two closest rivals, Charles de Gaulle (484) and Frankfurt (450), combined.
  • More passengers fly in and out of London than any other city in the world. Paris, our nearest competitor, is in 5th place.
  • London has 7 runways – more than all other European cities except Paris which has 8.

Heathrow is poorly used:

  • Heathrow has the terminal capacity to accommodate at least another 20 million passengers a year.
  • Of the top 10 destinations, by number of flights, only one, New York, is long haul. The rest are European or British destinations.
  • On average there are 38 daily flights to Amsterdam, 36 to Frankfurt, 35 to Paris, 35 to Edinburgh, 29 to Manchester.
  • Business trips are less than 20 per cent of the London passenger total

Case against the Hub airport:

  • Growing numbers of experts believe a mega-hub at Heathrow is unnecessary and would inhibit competition and restrict choice.
  • In 2008 David Cameron said; “The economic value of transfer passengers is hotly disputed – after all, they often spend only the price of a cup of coffee in the UK”.
  • In 2009, David Cameron said: “There are now increasing grounds to believe that the economic case is flawed.”
  • David Cameron later promised that if he were to become prime minister there would be no new runway at Heathrow, “no ifs, no buts”.
  • Former Chief Executive of British Airways Bob Ayling told the Sunday Times in 2008 that a third runway would be “a costly mistake……against Britain’s economic interests”
  • Paul Kehoe, chief executive of Birmingham Airport said: “Other countries, such as Germany, have a ‘multi-hub’ airport model – they link their major airports with high-speed rail, and spread the economic activity. They do not stick to the old-fashioned model of just one major airport.”


  • In the past five years, there have been 260 emergency or urgent landings at Heathrow, roughly one per week, as a result of problems such as engine failure, fuel shortages.

You might also like to check out these articles:

Simon Jenkins in The Evening Standard

Joseph Blake (Plane Stupid) writing for The Guardian

John Stewart (HACAN) on how the economy is not dependent on a 3rd runway at Heathrow

Article in the Daily Mail on the noise impacts

Article in The Independent on the health impacts

The number of people disturbed by noise (HACAN)

Air pollution impacts (HACAN)

New model of aircraft undermine arguments for a mega-hub airport (Zac Goldsmith)

Steve Norris on why Heathrow expansion cannot be delivered

and these briefings:

The case against a third runway (HACAN)

Campaign for Better Transport report on inadequacy of surface access at Heathrow

How well connected is Heathrow? (Aviation Environment Federation)

Short Haul flights clogging up Heathrow (HACAN)