London Heathrow to get third runway

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Heathrow airport is about to get a third runway.

The British government has backed an £18 billion (NZ$30 billion) expansion of London’s Heathrow Airport.

Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, defeated a proposal from smaller rival Gatwick to secure the first new full-length runway to be built near London in 70 years.

However, the decision is likely to be challenged in the courts.

But with a promise of jobs and greater trade links after Britons opted in June for Brexit, Prime Minister Mrs May is likely to win parliament’s approval, triumphing over an issue that has paralysed successive governments in the past.

The runway will be built by 2025, is one of Mrs May’s most significant acts since she took office in July. It follows her approval in September of a nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point.

The Department for Transport said a new runway at Heathrow would bring economic benefits to passengers and the wider economy worth up to £61bn and create as many as 77,000 additional local jobs over the next 14 years.

It will also enable Britain to keep pace with Europe’s biggest airports in Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt, which have greater capacity.

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