Heathrow expansion ‘fait accompli’ says airport boss

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Heathrow’s chief executive brushes off fears for its expansion – despite Boris Johnson’s vow to lie under bulldozers to stop it.

Heathrow’s boss has described the £14bn expansion as a “fait accompli” and a “critical part of any new prime minister’s agenda”.

Chief executive John Holland-Kaye made the remarks hours ahead of the election of Boris Johnson – a stated opponent of plans to build a third runway – as Tory leader.

Mr Holland-Kaye declined to say when he last discussed the third runway with Tory leader Boris Johnson but insisted the project “is now happening”.

The comments came as Heathrow reported half-year results, showing a record 38.8 million passengers used the airport in the first six months of 2019, a 1.8% increase on 2018.

Revenue for the period rose 4% to £1.46bn.

But attention was also focused on the impact of Mr Johnson’s election on the airport’s long-planned expansion.

In 2015, he had promised that he would lie down in front of bulldozers to stop the proposed construction.

However, Mr Holland-Kaye brushed off any worries about the intentions of the new prime minister towards the plans.

“It’s actually a fait accompli now”, he said

“The vote in Parliament with nearly a four to one majority means this is now happening.”

In March, London’s High Court launched a review in to the government’s approval of the runway.

“The judicial review process was a resounding success for the Department for Transport at the first stage, so this is now a reality and things have moved on,” Mr Holland-Kaye said.

“We’re now making it happen”.

The airport has so far raised £1.4bn this year as it continues to build a war chest for the privately funded north west runway.

Last month, Heathrow unveiled its draft masterplan for the expansion, laying out how the airport planned to grow to over 140 million passengers by 2050, creating “tens of thousands” of new jobs in the process.

At the time, the airport’s head of expansion Emma Gilthorpe, also played down any concerns about Mr Johnson.

She told Sky’s Ian King Live that Heathrow’s expansion “fits with his global Britain narrative”.

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