Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, today revealed figures showing that previous estimates on the growth of air travel in the South East had turned out to be a wild exaggeration. An answer to a Parliamentary Question tabled by Mr. Lilley revealed that the 1971 Roskill Report ? the last major report on airport capacity ? had projected well over double the number of passengers that actually use London?s main airports.

    Peter Lilley said:

    “My Parliamentary Question reveals that previous estimates on the growth of air travel in the South East were wildly exaggerated. The 1971 Roskill Report projected that a staggering 123 million passengers would use Heathrow, Gatwick and a possible third London Airport in 1991whereas only 63 million did so. It also predicted 260 million passengers in 2006 whereas the number by 2000 had only reached 117 million.

    “The Roskill Report predicted the need for at least four new runways to cope with this exaggerated demand: in fact there has only been one additional runway ? at Stansted. This casts a huge doubt on the projections underlying the growth of air travel. The Department of Transport?s recent national consultation document has projected 301 million passengers in 2030, which includes 30 million at Luton Airport. This makes it more clear to me that Luton should continue to develop as an airport primarily used for low-cost short-haul flights, rather than be transformed into a hub airport for passenger numbers that may never materialise.?