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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Airline travellers, competition and airport expansion

This discussion paper raises three key questions for the future of airport infrastructure in London and the south east, focussed on competition, the future of the 'hub' model, and environmental concerns.

The decision where to build a new runway in London and the south east will be one of the biggest that the next government has to take. This is true both from an economic perspective, because the runway will be a vital part of the UK's transport infrastructure for many years to come, and from a political perspective. It is vital, therefore, to understand the arguments about where the runway should be sited and the trends in the aviation industry that will determine which choice is the best.

This discussion paper summarises the main points from a roundtable meeting convened by IPPR and Gatwick Airport in December 2014. The meeting brought together a range of experts and representatives of interested groups to discuss expanding airport capacity in London and the south east of England, in the particular context of the interests of passengers and the role that enhanced competition in aviation could play in delivering better outcomes for airline travellers.

A range of views were expressed at the meeting and no consensus was reached. Therefore, this discussion paper flags up some issues for consideration, rather than presenting any firm conclusions.