Heathrow third runway has always been rotten idea – time to end this saga | Nils Pratley

Legal hurdle has gone, but from emissions targets to passenger projections, list of problems is long

Cleared for takeoff? Of course not. The supreme court has ruled that Heathrow’s third runway can proceed, but the chances of the thing being built still look remote. The obstacle of legality – admittedly, a large obstruction – has been removed, but the list of problems remains long.

One is whether demand still exists for an extra 700 flights a day. Even when the pandemic passes, who can really estimate the long-term impact of Zoom on the critical business traveller market? Heathrow handled 80 million passengers in 2018 and has seen only 20 million so far this year. Achieving 130 million in 2030, which is what the airport needs to support its enormous scheme, looks a stretch.

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