BORIS STRIKES DEAL OVER NORTHOLT FLIGHTS
MP WORKED WITH CABINET COLLEAGUES TO FIX CAP ON COMMERCIAL FLIGHTS
WEST London MP and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has negotiated with cabinet colleagues to cap the number of civilian flights at RAF Northolt.
The Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP waded into the debate over the future of RAF Northolt by demanding a limit to the number of non-army flights to 12,000.
RAF Northolt lies within Boris Johnson’s constituency and has been allowing thousands of private planes to land and take off from the aerodrome every year.
Some residents are concerned that the airfield, which will close in spring 2018 for a £45 million renovation including runway improvements, is a ploy to increase the number of civilian flights at the RAF site.
The increase in the number of non-military flights at RAF Northolt over the last decade has occurred without any local public consultations.
Commercial airline Flybe has made many public calls asking the RAF to allow commercial flights to use the spare capacity at RAF Northolt, which generates income for the MoD.
Mr Johnson met with newly appointed Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood to warned against com- mercialisation at the airbase.
Writing to campaign group Stop Northolt, he said: “I am delighted to have secured a firm commitment from the Government that the strict limits on the type and number of commercial flights – 12,000 annual movements of civil registered aircraft – will stay in place and that flights by scheduled airlines will remain prohibited.”
The development came at the same time as Sadiq Khan hinted at regulating growth of Northolt as a non-military airfield, in his draft London Plan, which states:
“Any significant shift in the mix of operations using an airport – for example introduction of scheduled flights at airports not generally offering such flights – should normally be refused.”
The Ministry of Defence has repeatedly maintained that the renovation is part of regular maintenance works and that there are no plans to commercialise RAF
Boris Johnson told Stop Northolt campaigners that the Government has put ‘strict limits’ on the type and number of commercial flights at the airfield, no more than 12,000 a year will take place and scheduled airlines will not be able to use the base
Boris Johnson, MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, has secured a limit on commercial flights at RAF Northolt