UK Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond stated high-speed trains will replace domestic air services from London Heathrow Airport to Manchester Aitport and short-haul services to the country (Express.co.uk, 17-Oct-2010). Mr Hammond stated plans for a rail link from Heathrow in place of the construction of a third runway at the airport will alleviate pressure on the country’s overcrowded airspace and make the airport “better, not bigger”. The minister stated Heathrow is not the “the greatest gateway into Britain” and the UK Government is looking into further utilising airspace in the south east.
UK Government: “We are looking at [airspace in the south east] as a national resource and working out how to deploy it effectively. A key part of this equation for us is that we expect that once the high-speed rail network is built, much of the domestic demand for aviation will move on to rail. Once you get to Manchester with the new railway it is very unlikely there will be anyone flying from Manchester to London. It is quite likely the majority of traffic from Glasgow and Edinburgh will transfer to rail because journey time [to London] for both will be around three and a half hours city centre to city centre. That compares favourably with air travel. It is partly about managing demand for domestic flights so that we can use capacity released from that, and indeed to some extent capacity from short-haul European flights, as we see more rail services connecting European cities like Amsterdam and Frankfurt [to London],” Phillip Hammond, Transport Secretary. Source: Express.co.uk, 17-Oct-2010.