Airport expansion required - 19 January 2012
Kwasi Kwarteng writes about his paper for Conservative Home.
“When the facts change, I change my mind... what do you do Sir?” said John Maynard Keynes to criticism that he had changed his mind on monetary policy during the Great Depression. The circumstances of 2012 are clearly very different from those in the middle of the last Parliament, when we had experienced 15 years of continuous growth.
Our current economic situation, with all its difficulties, has made aviation policy a central topic of discussion. The growth of emerging markets, coupled with the relative economic stagnation of Europe, has focused minds on the need for Britain to develop business relations with the wider world. You don’t need the logic of a Jesuit to appreciate that aviation is important to fostering links with those emerging economies outside Europe.
Evidence suggests that London is already falling behind other European cities. Paris and Frankfurt enjoy a thousand more annual flights to the largest cities in China than Heathrow. It has also been shown that businesses trade 20 times as much with emerging markets than enjoy a direct daily flight than with those for which there is no such contact. It is predicted that demand is set to double over the next 20 years, while our main airports are already 95% to 99% full. These facts are quite well established, and lead to further questions. Most people are agreed that some expansion in aviation capacity will probably take place. The debate now centres on where this expansion should take place, and over what time frame.
Read the rest of the article of Conservative Home.