Airport will grow - despite concerns

DESPITE protests at the growing number of noisy passenger jets flying over Suffolk, bosses at Stansted airport today said they believed air travel will grow even more.

DESPITE protests at the growing number of noisy passenger jets flying over Suffolk, bosses at Stansted airport today said they believed air travel will grow even more.

BAA's new chief executive Colin Matthews said Stansted was facing a challenging time but the company was committed to building a second runway at the airport to provide additional capacity to meet future demand.

Campaigners have constantly questioned the need for the second runway, which alongside proposals for an extra runway at Heathrow could double the amount of planes over Suffolk.

Suffolk County Council has formally objected to the proposal because of the environmental impact of air traffic growth on the quality of life of those living under the flightpaths.

Speaking at Duxford Imperial War Museum to more than 200 invited guests - ranging from regional business leaders to representatives from councils and airlines - Mr Matthews said the runway was one of BAA's top priorities.

“Longer term economic growth is predicted beyond the challenges of the current cyclical downturn - and with it will come continued growth in demand for air travel,” he said. “Stansted is at the forefront to meet that challenge.

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“The project (for a second runway) will bring significant benefits to the East of England and to the UK as a whole, and over 13,000 new jobs will be created.

“The development will support plans for regional development, as well as underpin the investment planned for road and rail infrastructure in the region.

“In environment terms, I am acutely aware that our plans have attracted widespread public debate - and quite right, too.

“But our focus, as always, is on achieving sustainable growth, and as our plans have taken shape during years of extensive consultation we have refined our proposals so that in terms of environmental credentials, we are at the leading edge of what it is possible to do.”

The airport is currently waiting to see if it can add ten million passengers a year to its capacity limit through maximum use of its existing runway.

Should Stansted be allowed to have a second runway? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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