Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Mr. Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has carried out a comparison of forecasts made by the Roskill Committee of (a) air travel, (b) plane movements and (c) runway use with actual outcomes since that time. [80710]

    Mr. Spellar: The 1971 Roskill report (page 191) projected 123 million passengers at Heathrow, Gatwick, and a third London airport in 1991 and 260 million passengers in 2006. Over the period 1969 to 2006, traffic was projected in Roskill to grow over 15 fold. (Forecasts were presented in terms of passengers, rather than air traffic movements and runway utilisation.) Actual passengers through all London airports in 1991, the year before the Gulf war, was 62.8 million passengers (69.5 million passengers in 1992). In 2000, the corresponding actual figure was 117 million passengers. Our consultation documents report an unconstrained forecast of 301 million passengers in 2030, ie a 2.6 fold increase over 2000.

    The Roskill report forecasts are one of a number of projections of air traffic growth. Since the early 1970s traffic growth has fallen as the industry has matured. More recent forecasts produced by the Department in the 1990s have tended to under-estimate future traffic growth.