Even before the COVID-19 crisis, Heathrow bosses were grappling with a number of ongoing high-profile problems. The biggest of these – its controversial plan for a third runway – was ruled illegal in February. Mark Broadbent considers the latest setback in the decades-long British airport saga.
A landmark verdict at the Court of Appeal in late February 2020 ruled that the UK government’s decision to expand London/Heathrow with a third runway was unlawful because it did not meet the nation’s climate change commitments. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the government would review its next move, but would not appeal the judgement. However, Heathrow Ltd has vowed to contest the ruling, renewing uncertainty over just how and when the growing airspace capacity battle can be settled.