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U.K. “Can’t Afford to Make a Mistake” in Airport Expansion, Government Calls For Delays as Travel Groups Demand Action

London City Airport (Photo: iStock)

Britain’s largest professional travel organization rallies for quick decision on London’s next runway as the project faces more delays.

The leading travel management professional group in the U.K. is expressing its frustrations over London’s planned runway expansion just days before the Airport Commission is expected to issue their recommendation. Travel Weekly reports the leadership of the Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) is raising their voice on the issue as the new runway decision could face even more delays.

After spending nearly a year debating possible solutions on how to increase London’s airport capacity, including one option involving the construction of a new airport, the Airport Commission is expected to announce their recommendation by the end of June. With that deadline quickly approaching, though, many travel experts are concerned that a final decision may not come soon enough.

The possibility of further delay is of particular concern to the GTMC, which warns that even a small delay will directly affect travel to and from Britain.

“The fact that we might have to wait even longer for a decision and therefore additional airport capacity means that in turn we have to wait even longer to realize opportunities for growth abroad,” said Paul Wait, CEO of GTMC. “As a result we run the risk of the U.K. losing its competitive edge in the global marketplace — a risk the U.K. government and U.K. business cannot afford to take.”

On the opposite end of the delay-damage debate, some politicians are calling for the Airport Commission to delay their decision, suggesting this would allow them to make the best decision for long-term growth.

“It will get the autumn to understand the reasoning and detailed recommendations of the Airports Commission and this should enable a better and more coherent response,” Lord John Shipley, chairman of the National Connectivity Task Force, told The Chronicle. “It can’t afford to make a mistake given the importance of the decision.”

While many in the travel community expected a quick decision, a final decision by politicians may not come until the end of the year. An unnamed official from Whitehall told The Chronicle that there will not be a final decision on the matter until “before Christmas.”

[Photo: iStock]

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