It’s a fairly basic observation concerning market economics that if the expansion of one producer lowers the output of other such producers then it’s near certainly a good thing, that expansion. For our producer expands, delivering more of what the consumers want, leaving those people producing the lesser favoured output to mourn their losses. To, obviously, the great joy of consumers who are getting more of that they so obviously, by their actions, desire.
Airports are reasonable substitutes for each other. Obviously, not perfect ones. Southend Airport is less useful to someone west of London than Heathrow, Gatwick or Luton are, equally more so to someone in Essex. So, if one airport expands and then more people decide to use that airport, others less, then we’ve a fair assumption there that people prefer to use the expanded airport rather than those less worthy substitutes.
Which is interesting. Because that would make it a very strange argument against Heathrow expansion that because more people will use it we shouldn’t expand it. The opposite logic should apply, that if regional airports will lose trade to an expanded Heathrow then that’s a great argument to expand Heathrow. Which isn’t the way it is being argued:
According to the government’s own figures, the impact of Heathrow expansion on UK regional airports will be alarmingly negative. By as early as 2030, a third runway at Heathrow will mean 20,258 fewer direct international flights at Manchester each year; 17,100 fewer at Birmingham; 4,449 fewer at Leeds Bradford; 2,700 fewer in Scotland; 1,400 fewer at Doncaster Sheffield airport; and that as many as 17 million of the 43 million extra passengers projected to pass through Heathrow’s lucrative shopping malls will have been be drawn from growth at regional airports (Caroline Lucas interview, 16 June).
And there’s no letup in the projections: by 2050 there will be 162,000 fewer direct international flights each year at regional airports, if parliament permits Heathrow to build a third runway.
All of this can only be true if consumers prefer to travel through an expanded Heathrow rather than those regional airports. Thus Heathrow should be expanded because that’s what consumers prefer.
The letter comes from:
Chair, No 3rd Runway Coalition
It would appear that they need to brush up upon basic logic, no?