Nov 2 2012 By Jack Griffith
THE AIRPORTS commission tasked with solving the UKs aviation capacity crisis has announced its mission statement.
The commission, being chaired by Sir Howard Davies, is due to advise on the immediate action needed to improve existing runway capacity in the short term by the end of 2013.
In summer 2015, it will report back to government with an assessment of options 'for meeting the UK's connectivity needs, including their economic, social and environmental impact.'
Heathrow, the world's third busiest airport, is running close to full capacity, and there has been widespread fears that a third runway at Heathrow could be reconsidered, despite the coalition government pledging not to revisit the proposals, and the previous Labour administration losing a High Court battle to press ahead with expansion at Heathrow in 2010.
Another option is an all-new airport in the Thames Estuary, dubbed 'Boris Island' due to its endorsement by the Mayor of London.
The government has been forced to decide how to maintain its status before getting left behind by other European hub destinations with the appropriate infrastructure and capacity already in place.
The Coalition was due to make recommendations and start a consultation on the ways to improve and maintain the UKs status as an international hub destination earlier this year.
In September. the Government announced that it would instead be forming an independent commission to take on this responsibility.
It has been given until the summer of 2015 to report back, which has led to widespread criticism that the government is stalling on this important issue.
Speaking to BBC Radio last week, London Mayor Boris Johnson said the government had opted for a 'policy of utter inertia', and added: "I think what is going on now [The commission's review] is a good thing, it's a productive process.
"I just think it could be speeded up, and there is absolutely no need to delay to 2015."
Sir Howard said: "We will take time to explore the evidence, consider the options and aim to develop a lasting solution to the nation's aviation needs.
"The experience of recent years shows we need a robust evidence base which has the support of a broad consensus of opinion.
"We aim to put the next government into a position in which rapid and implementable decisions can be soundly made."
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the review would bring a 'much-needed fresh perspective to the debate.'
The commission's six core members were announced on Friday, and includes academics and prominent figures in business and aviation.