Blocking third runway at the London airport causes further uncertainty surrounding air capacity, says IATA.

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The Court of Appeal’s decision to block expansion at London Heathrow Airport could cause “tremendous damage” to the UK economy.

That was the message from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) following the Court’s verdict, which it said was taken on the grounds of incompatibility with the Paris Climate Agreement.

“The Court’s decision to throw further uncertainty on the development of vital air capacity for the UK threatens tremendous damage to the UK economy,” said an IATA statement. 

“Our aim should be to eliminate carbon, not travel, and the UK aviation industry has already committed to a net-zero target for aviation carbon emissions.”

The Court’s decision to throw further uncertainty on the development of vital air capacity for the UK threatens tremendous damage to the UK economy

Judges said that the expansion—which centres on the building of a third runway at Heathrow—could go ahead in future provided it adheres to the UK’s climate policy.

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the government would not appeal against the ruling in the case, which was brought by environmental groups, local councils and the Mayor of London.

IATA expressed concerned that the Airports Commission report, which looked at the UK’s ability to maintain its status as an international aviation hub, had not been taken seriously enough by the authorities.

“The report laid out the arguments on increased airport capacity clearly and further endless debate into the merits of growth risks the UK planning process becoming a laughing stock Heathrow enlargement cannot come at any price,” it continued.

“Costs and landing charges must be controlled if the full economic benefits of expansion are to be fulfilled. But it’s clear that an affordable expanded Heathrow will be a huge prize for the UK.”

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said the airport intends to challenge the Court of Appeal ruling at the Supreme Court, the UK’s upper court of appeal.

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