World’s leading international airline alliance urges development of third runway at London Heathrow

24 December 2002

oneworld™, the world's leading international airline alliance, today comes out firmly in favour of building a third runway at London's Heathrow Airport.

Between them, oneworld's eight member airlines - Aer Lingus, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Finnair, Iberia, LanChile and Qantas Airways - account for approaching 20 per cent of the world's airline capacity, carrying more than 225 million passengers last year on a combined fleet of almost 2 000 aircraft. The alliance serves more countries than any global airline grouping, with flights to 570 destinations in 135 countries. Its member airlines earned revenues of some US$50 billion last year.

Responding to the British government's request for views on the future development of air transport in the UK, oneworld's Managing Partner Peter Buecking says: "Heathrow is the industry's preferred option. Heathrow is the consumer's preferred option. Heathrow is the most readily available option. Heathrow is the best option for Britain's economical well being."

"If Heathrow is not developed, it and the UK will lose their position as the international traveller's preferred European gateway, with all the negative consequences that would have for Britain in terms of thousands of lost jobs and billions of pounds of lost investment."

Increasingly, competition in the air transport industry is moving up a notch, between alliances. oneworld's main competitors use as their main European hubs Frankfurt and Paris, both of which are being significantly expanded.

In oneworld's formal submission to UK consultation review, Managing Partner Peter Buecking states: "If oneworld and its member airlines are to compete against them successfully we need a competitive hub. London Heathrow is oneworld's main European hub – and UK plc benefits substantially as a result, from the overseas travellers we carry to your nation, the services we provide your citizens, the inward investment we help support and the scores of thousands of jobs we provide directly or indirectly.

"We therefore believe very strongly that the only hub option Her Majesty's Government should consider in its review of future air transport infrastructure is to place utmost priority on developing Heathrow with a third runway, as proposed in your consultative document. That, we believe, is far more practical and sensible than any of the other options that have been put forward officially or unofficially.

"We appreciate that there are those who will argue against this proposal on environmental grounds. It is important, therefore, to understand that the third Heathrow runway could be developed within noise levels imposed as a condition for Terminal 5 and without the need for any additional night flights. Once environmental issues have been assessed, Heathrow will also emerge as the best option for the nation."