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Business

Heathrow profits up ahead of runway decision

London's Heathrow Airport has reported an increase in earnings for the first nine months of the year and has also seen passenger numbers rise. The fresh data came as a decision on a new runway was due this month.

Heathrow Airport officials announced Thursday the London aviation hub saw an 11-perent rise in pre-tax earnings to 202 million pounds ($248 million, 226 million euros) in the January to September period.

Over the same period, passenger numbers picked up by 0.7 percent, hitting a record high of 57.3 million travelers.

"Heathrow is firing on all cylinders - a record number of passengers getting our best service at a better value," CEO John Holland-Kaye said in a statement. "I'm pleased the prime minister is committed to finally taking a decision on the critical national issue of airport expansion in the coming days."

No time to waste

Heathrow is one of the world's busiest airports, but has been operating at near-full capacity for a long time.

Prime Minister Theresa May said the government had not yet made a decision about where to allow airport expansion in southeast England, but would do so this month. It's due to choose between plans for a new runway at Heathrow or at Gatwick to the south of London.

John Holland-Kay said Heathrow stood ready "to deliver the runway that will keep Britain a confident, outward-looking trading nation."

Should its plan be approved, the runway could be built by 2025 at a cost of around 17.6 billion pounds.

"There was a strong consensus about the importance of this decision for the country," a government spokeswoman said, pointing to the need to get on and what it would mean for the UK economy and the nation "that we want to be as we leave the European Union."

hg/jd (Reuters, AFP)

 

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