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‘Aviation services and the City’

31st August, 2008

This report was commissioned by the City of London Corporation (ie City council) from York Aviation. While the corporation’s comment was cautious, the report was seized on, predictably, by the London Chamber of Commerce in support of a third runway at Heathrow.

The report argues that air travel is important to (some) businesses in the City. Few would doubt that, but it requires a tortuous chain of logic to go from there to saying we need a third runway for national economic reasons. We have not studied the report to see how it takes account the fact the 60% of Heathrow’s traffic is already leisure, that 30% is transfer traffic (ie no use to businesses in London) and that the great majority of traffic resulting from a third runway would be leisure (government consultation data). However, we note that play is made of a survey of London business. Just 44 business responded, accounting for 38,000 trips. That is, about 1 tenth of one percent of Heathrow trips. This tiny self-selected sample is no basis for reaching conclusions on Heathrow expansion.