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UK parliament greenlights Heathrow expansion

But due to complications over construction and the inevitable legal battles, the opening date could be another ten years away.

The UK parliament has approved by a significant margin the construction of a third runway at London’s Heathrow Airport – but many believe it will be at least a decade before it finally opens, TTG reports. The vote follows backing for the controversial project from the government earlier this month.

MPs voted 415 to 119 in favour of expanding Heathrow, with the Conservative-led government resorting to a whipped vote – in which members are strictly told vote as directed by the party leadership – to ensure the support it needed.

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who had vowed to lie down in front of the bulldozers if the runway was approved, missed the vote due to commitments in Afghanistan, Prime Minister Theresa May said.

Heathrow Hub, a consortium advocating an alternative third runway proposition by extending the existing northerly runway west and dividing it into two, claims the plan approved by parliament will never be built.

“The third runway plan is so complicated, noisy and expensive it will either never be built, or will be delayed by years and vastly over budget,” said Jock Lowe, Heathrow Hub’s director. “It is passengers, airlines and local communities who will pay the cost.”

Price to pay
Transport secretary Chris Grayling has insisted the taxpayer “is not going to be paying for the expansion of Heathrow airport” and said there would be no major rise in landing charges.

However, the airline group IAG which owns British Airways claims that the cost of the project will mean passenger fees doubling to £40 (€45).

Arguments over how the project is funded will only add to the inevitable legal battle that will start once homeowners and other groups affected by the third runway begin their own challenges, experts say.

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