IN a bid to boost its campaign for a third runway, Heathrow have stated that it now plans to ban night flights.
The largest UK airport also revealed that it would accept a government ruling against building a fourth runway in the future.
Although there is no ban on night flights at the moment, there is a limit of 5,800 take offs and landings between 11.30pm and 6am each year.
The airport commission set out 11 conditions which the airport has said it will comply with, including a requirement on air quality which stated that new flights would only be permitted if the quality of the air did not breach EU obligations.
Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye said in a letter to the Prime Minister: “We have acted now to let you and your government make the right choice. It will enable you to choose Heathrow.” He went on to state that expansion would help Britain “win thousands more jobs.”
Whilst chairman of the anti-Heathrow expansion group HACAN John Stewart said: “Heathrow’s decision to move on night flights could turn out to be significant.
“HACAN has long campaigned for a ban on flights before 6am, but things have remained the same for decades. Heathrow’s proposals may prise open a door on night flights that has been firmly closed for 25 years.”
In the ongoing battle between the two main London airports and their desire to be granted the additional runway, Gatwick responded by reiterating that it remains the only expansion plan that can deliver for the UK.
CEO Stewart Wingate said: “This is a desperate last throw from a project that has repeatedly failed.
“Heathrow can promise many things but they cannot wish away the reality of its location.
“An expanded Heathrow will impact hundreds of thousands of people currently not affected by aircraft noise – an expanded Gatwick would impact less than 3 per cent of this number.”
With the new London mayor in place, this could also potentially prove a stumbling block for Heathrow as he was previously stated he would oppose a third runway at Heathrow.
London mayor, Sadiq Khan has said Gatwick is a “more viable, cheaper and easier to build alternative” even if the government pursues the Heathrow option.
Gatwick’s April passenger numbers have been down when compared to 2015, but this is thought to be due to an earlier Easter holiday, although Heathrow’s passenger numbers have grown in 2016. Over six million passengers used Heathrow in April 2016.