Heathrow Airport just got bigger…and busier.
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British lawmakers approved a controversial new proposal to construct a third runway at Heathrow Airport, according to CNN. The hotly debated decision will make Heathrow Airport the world’s biggest airport in terms of traffic – increasing passenger capacity from 80 million to 110 million by 2030.
Currently, the world’s largest airport is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia, with a capacity of 104 million passengers. However, not everyone is pleased with the British lawmakers’ decision.
Proponents of the plan say the runway expansion will boost Heathrow’s status as the preeminent aviation hub in the world, making it easier to travel to the U.K. It’s also hoped the plan will counter any projected economic fallout from Brexit, the country’s decision to leave the European Union.
The proposed runway would extend directly above the M25 motorway, an extremely busy freeway. Opponents to the plan say the increase in air traffic could lead to environmental hazard. Also, more than 750 homes in the area would need to be demolished to complete the runway’s construction, according to CNN.
Despite concerns and objections from opponents, the proposal was approved with an overwhelming majority of 415 to 119 votes by the House of Commons.
House of Commons votes 415 to 119 to approve the National Policy Statement on new runway capacity infrastructure at airports in the South East of England.
MPs have approved plans to build a third runway at Heathrow. #HeathrowExpansion
— UK House of Commons (@HouseofCommons) June 25, 2018
Construction is expected to cost about USD$20 billion (approximately £14.3 billion). Without the proposed expansion, however, Heathrow is expected to reach its current capacity by 2034, which could negatively affect travelers visiting the U.K. The runway expansion is expected to alleviate such fears and accommodate higher influx of travelers in future.
Reporting by JST News, CNN