IATA welcomes the decision by the UK Government to move ahead with much needed expansion of the London area airport capacity.

Commenting on the British Government decision, Giovanni Bisignani, IATA Director General and CEO said, "The UK Government report draws a clear conclusion in tackling the tough issue of how to increase UK airport capacity. Immediate capacity extension at Stansted and the willingness to move ahead at Heathrow will provide the capacity that is essential for the UK economy and for the aviation industry."

"The expansion of Stansted Airport is a useful decision in the European context, but there is no room for two intercontinental hubs in the London area," Bisignani added. The consolidation trends and liberalisation in international aviation will induce airline mergers and further stimulate hub and spoke systems for long haul connections. Heathrow is and will remain the global gateway and hub that London and the UK need.

IATA urges the UK Government to proceed speedily to complete the environmental study that will enable further expansion at Heathrow to be delivered. Congestion at Heathrow causes delay, environmental damage and financial loss, which can only be overcome by providing adequate capacity for efficient operations there.

IATA and the airlines are looking forward to working with BAA to implement the expansion plan in the most cost-effective and timely way.