Skip to content

UK supreme court rules Heathrow third runway can go ahead

Dec. 16, 2020
3 min read
UK supreme court rules Heathrow third runway can go ahead
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Heathrow’s third runway made headway toward becoming a reality this week. On Wednesday, the U.K. supreme court overturned a February judgment that ruled the third runway illegal.

With Wednesday’s overturned decision, the third runway project can now seek planning permission. However, all is not certain, as the ultimate completion of the runway is still a long way off.

Sign up to receive the daily TPG newsletter for more aviation news!

Sign up for our daily newsletter

At this point, the airport can now seek a development consent order, or planning permission to go forward with the third runway. However, there are still dozens of approvals that need to take place before the runway gets the final go-ahead. In fact, a third runway likely won’t be a reality until at least 2030.

Wednesday’s U.K. supreme court ruling overturned a February court of appeal decision that found that the government’s approval was illegal because it failed to take into account the U.K.’s 2015 Paris climate accord agreements. In that, the U.K. agreed to try to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels and “well below” two degrees of warming, according to Sky News.

The supreme court found that it was unnecessary and overturned the decision, as reported by the Guardian.

A spokesperson for Heathrow said Wednesday’s decision was the “right result for the country.” However, given the coronavirus pandemic and its devastating effect on air travel, Heathrow has said that a third runway could be delayed by five years beyond its previous target date of 2028.

“Only by expanding the U.K.’s hub airport can we connect all of Britain to all of the growing markets of the world, helping to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in every nation and region of our country,” the spokesperson said.

“Demand for aviation will recover from COVID-19, and the additional capacity at an expanded Heathrow will allow Britain as a sovereign nation to compete for trade and win against our rivals in France and Germany.

“Heathrow has already committed to net zero and this ruling recognizes the robust planning process that will require us to prove expansion is complaint with the U.K’s climate change obligation, including the Paris climate agreement, before construction can begin,” the spokesperson said.

A potential third runway at London’s Heathrow Airport has been an idea for 17 years. It’s been the subject of a convoluted web of legal battles and debate between climate activists and those seeking to expand the airport’s global presence.

Related: London set to get its seventh airport by 2023

With a third runway, Heathrow would be able to accommodate about 740,000 takeoffs and landings each year, compared to the 480,000 it currently can accommodate with two runways.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Heathrow was the busiest airport in Europe, accounting for more than 80.8 million passengers in 2019. Between January and September 2020, just 19 million passengers transited through Heathrow, leading the airport to lose its title as the busiest in Europe to Paris’ Charles de Gaulle.

Featured image by Aerial Photography view west ofHeathrow airport with the runways and terminal buildings, London Hounslow Middlesex TW6 UK. Photo by Andrew Holt / Gettys Images

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases