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14 British Airports Authority

Chief Executive, British Airports Authority

Current forecasts show that over the next 15 years the number of terminal passengers at the London airports will grow by 300-500% and aircraft movements by 115-170%. Heathrow, Gatwick and the third London airport will all have to be working at or near full pressure to meet these demands. 

To make as intensive use as possible of Heathrow, which by 1981 should be handling over 30 million passengers a year, we must improve present means of access to the airport. 

We hope to see the motorway system round London extended to meet the traffic growth, and we intend to build a western access to relieve pressure on the central area. The main contribution, however, will come from the two rail links with central London, for which legislation is now being prepared. We are planning at least one new terminal on the western side of the airport to handle large aircraft and SSTs. 

Space is limited at Heathrow and therefore we shall have to adopt whatever systems of aircraft and passenger handling can be fitted in rather than those offering airlines or passengers the most convenience. Construction of the new cargo area on the south side of the airport is under way and a substantial area for future expansion has been selected. Phased acquisition of the sludge works to the west of the airport will enable us to improve other facilities and to provide new ones, such as car parks and hotels. 

Gatwick will be equipped to handle over 12 million passengers a year. Rail access, which is already good, is being considerably improved, and we hope that within a few years a first-class motorway system will connect the airport with central London and with Heathrow. Improvements to the operating and terminal areas are now being planned. 

Heathrow and Gatwick will thus be connected by road with each other and by rail with Victoria, and we are urgently considering, with all those concerned, how to provide at Victoria a modern air transport centre.

For the third London airport we shall be laying the basis in the 1970's for an airport that in the 1980's will be handling at least as much traffic as Heathrow. At the start, a motorway must provide the main access. The runways must be far enough apart to give freedom in planning, and we hope that it will be possible to give the passengers more spacious environment and the airlines more freedom of action. We propose to show at the Conference some of the new techniques and ideas which are being developed. 

Prestwick is probably the only airport at present where SSTs can be confidently handled. Prestwick is thus essential to the UK as a whole and to Scotland in particular. Plans for this airport include an eventual doubling of the passenger terminal and aprons and a rail link to connect with Glasgow. We hope also that road improvements and the railway will link Prestwick with the other major cities. 

Cargo traffic at Prestwick is growing at about 40% a year, and we shall be building a completely new cargo area, in particular for the big jet freighter. 

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