Britain’s economy would fall behind the rest of Europe unless London’s capacity-constrained Heathrow hub got a third runway and the government improved immigration services, serial entrepreneur and Virgin Atlantic founder Richard Branson said.
“There should have been a third runway at Heathrow in the 1940s and only two got built,” Branson said in an interview. “Meanwhile, in France, Germany and Italy about 24 new runways have been built and, as a result, Britain is being held back.”
BAA’s Heathrow is operating at full capacity after Britain’s Conservative-led coalition government blocked development of a third runway when it came to power in 2010 as further expansion of the west London site would mean a huge increase in the number of planes flying directly over the capital. There were 476 197 flights at Heathrow in 2011, representing 99.2 percent of the airport’s limit.
Branson added: “Britain should make arriving at the airport in immigration the most magical, wonderful thing. It should be ‘welcome to Great Britain’ not ‘we suspect every single one of you of being terrorists’.” – Reuters