Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker has waded into the third-runway debate for Heathrow, warning the UK economy faces catastrophe awaits if the government fails to act, reports

Aviation Club in London

Speaking at a gathering of more than 250 global aviation industry professionals at the Aviation Club in London, Al Baker insisted that Heathrow’s capacity issues have to be addressed if the country wants to remain competitive against its European counterparts.

“Heathrow is bursting at the seams and has already reached a critical point,” he said, cites the aviation news source.

“Already heading towards a double-dip recession, the UK cannot afford to lose out on the huge benefits a third runway would bring to the economy in south-east England and the country as a whole through the creation of more jobs and more business opportunities.”

Second Runway at Gatwick Airport

Other distinguished guests at the event, however, said a second runway at Gatwick Airport could be a viable alternative to Heathrow expansion.

Whichever solution the government opts for, Al Baker said that it must happen soon, as the UK cannot wait 20 years for another airport – such as the so-called ‘Boris Island’ – to come along.

While Qatar Airways planes can be spotted by UK flight radar systems up to five times a day, Al Baker said there is demand for further expansion of this route – but only if the infrastructure is there to handle it.

“As we prepare to move to a brand new airport in Doha next year, the opportunities that will present themselves are enormous. But to really take full advantage of our new home, we need more services from places like London to cater to the demand,” he said.

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