This page will be used for Frequently Asked Questions. We will update it from time to time, depending on themes that will develop during our campaign. We start with basic questions about the group.
Q: Who are Future Heathrow?
A: Future Heathrow is a campaign group formed by a broad spectrum of organisations that recognise Heathrow's vital position for the UK economy. The members fully support sustainable development of Heathrow so that it can continue to serve as the UK's only international hub airport. Membership is available to any organisation that shares our aims.
Q: What is the purpose of Future Heathrow?
Future Heathrow campaigns for the expansion of Heathrow in a sustainable manner in line with the Government's White Paper on airport developments in the UK. We aim to inform public debate on the critical economic social and environmental surrounding Heathrow's development.
Q: Does this mean you don't support development at other UK airports?
A: Where there is a sound case for developing other UK airports, we believe that development should take place. However, we do not support cross subsidy to fund such developments.
Q: Why does Heathrow need to be expanded?
A: There are a number of reasons:
Firstly, the solution to the Heathrow hassle of delays, cancellations and queues is to give the airport more runway capacity. Currently, Heathrow is running at 99% capacity. Heathrow only has two runways -the same number as when it opened in 1946.
Secondly, Heathrow is the UK's only international hub airport. If we are to compete globally then we need an international airport hub that can provide the connections that people need. This includes business in the City of London as well as in the regions where transport infrastructure is one of the top key factors for businesses when deciding where they should locate. People don't simply use Heathrow for leisure, but many families depend on the connections Heathrow offers in order to reunite with their families.
It is worth noting that all Heathrow's rival European hubs have more runways and capacity. Amsterdam has five runways, Paris (Charles De Gaulle) four, Madrid has four and Frankfurt has three with a fourth runway planned. The United Arab Emirates plan to build 'Dubai World Central', a six-runway airport that aims to attract businesses to relocate. Dubain aims to compete with the best of the World's airports with the enhanced connectivity they will offer. China is planning to open a new airport every month for the next 5 years.
None of these countries are making the commitment and investment without a strong business case that will include competing with Heathrow's position as a major international hub airport.
Heathrow's current network has shrunk to about 180 destinations - nearly 50 fewer than in 1990. Heathrow has slipped to fifth place in terms of non-stop destinations served - behind Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam and Munich.
Q: What about jobs?
172,000 jobs depend on Heathrow. 72,000 jobs are based in and around the airport. 100,000 jobs in the surrounding area indirectly depend on a thriving Heathrow. The Trade Union movement supports the expansion of Heathrow.
Q: What would the benefits be of a third runway?
A: A short third runway of 2,200 metres, shorter than the existing runways, would cut delays.
Allowing full use of the two existing runways through 'mixed mode' operations, for take off and landings (as at Gatwick and Stansted) would also create enough capacity to cut delays and make flight times reliable.
Q: What cuts in delays would you expect?
A: Peak delays could be reduced from 25 minutes to 10 minutes, and stacking of aircraft waiting to land would also be cut. The extra runway capacity will add up to 75 destinations to Heathrow's global network and increase flight frequency.
Q: What are the economic benefits?
A: The UK is an island nation in a global economy. Air links are crucial for the UK's economic success. A third runway would also generate £7bn a year in national economic benefits. Mixed mode would generate £2.5bn a year in national economic benefits.
Q: What about climate change. Isn't this the real reason Heathrow should not be expanded?
A: In the world of environmentalists, aviation emissions are called 'orphan emissions' because they do not stop at borders. If no growth is allowed at Heathrow, global emissions will not be reduced. Instead, growth will be diverted to other European hubs and will undermine jobs in UK aviation. Aviation emissions are to be capped anyway by 2011 right across Europe, well before a third runway is built. Aviation will be playing its part in carbon offset trading and making that work. It is worth remembering that UK aviation as a whole contributes 0.1% of global carbon emissions. Pollution from cars is far greater.
The contributon to global warming from energy and from the logging of trees is also far greater than that of aviation.
The Stern Review into climate change made it clear that aviation could grow in a sustainable way.
To put it in context, the amount of CO2 that will be produced from operations with a third runway in place is equivalent to the amount of CO2 produced by China in 5 hours today.
Q: What steps is the aviation industry taking to play its part reducing its contribution to climate change and also pollution generally, including noise?
A: A third runway and mixed mode at Heathrow will reduce the need for stacking of aircraft and holding on the ground, therefore eliminating 330,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.
British Airways for example, has halved its noise impact at Heathrow and Gatwick since 1998 through investment in quieter aircraft and pioneering operational procedures such as continuous descent approaches.
Noise reduction was a crucial factor in the selection by airlines including Virgin and BA to purchase quieter longhaul aircraft such as the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
The UK aviation industry is committed to playing its part and is taking leading role in Europe to ensure that carbon offset trading will work.
Q: What about air quality for those who live around Heathrow?
A: The third runway will not go ahead unless NO2 (nitrous oxide) concentrations comply with EU regulations coming into effect in 2010.
At the airport boundary, only a third of NO2 emissions in residential areas around Heathrow are attributable to aviation. The majority is from road transport and urbanisation. Aviation's effects fall rapidly to less than 10% within less than a mile of the airport boundary.
The practice of aircraft taxi-ing in on one engine has been implemented to reduce further the NO2 emissions.
When for example, BA moves to Terminal 5, it will apply stricter limits to the use of aircraft auxiliary power units, which contribute up to 20 per cent of ground level NO2 emissions.
Mixed mode will reduce NO2 emissions in the north of the airfield which is currently the worst area for air quality.