Sun, Jun 15, 2014 - Page 5 News List

China wants expansion of UK’s Heathrow Airport

MORE CAPACITY:Three Chinese airlines flying to the UK want more slots so they can organize more flights, China’s ambassador to the UK told reporters on Friday

Reuters, LONDON

China wants London’s Heathrow Airport to expand its capacity so that Chinese airlines can introduce more flights between China and Britain, China’s ambassador to Britain said on Friday, saying he had written to the government about the issue.

Speaking ahead of a visit to London next week by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克強), the ambassador said the lack of capacity is a problem for three Chinese carriers, who want to increase the number of slots they have.

“We’d like to see an increase in capacity in Heathrow Airport,” Chinese Ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaoming (劉曉明) told a news conference in London. He said the British government had told him the airport, the world’s third-busiest by passenger numbers, had reached capacity.

“We expect Heathrow will have a third runway,” he said.

British lawmakers and business leaders have identified the lack of new airport capacity as a possible drag on economic growth and agree that the country urgently needs new runways. However, the idea of adding them in London is unpopular with many voters, who worry about noise, pollution and safety.

Britain’s Airport Commission is due to make a final recommendation on where and how to expand London’s airport capacity by next year.

Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited is co-owned by Spanish infrastructure firm Ferrovial, its largest shareholder with a 25 percent share.

Partners include Qatar Holding, China Investment Corp and the Government of Singapore Investment Corp.

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