Thirty four percent of tourism heads believe that building a third runway at Heathrow Airport is the best solution to the UK’s airport capacity problems, according to a poll conducted by World Travel Market.
Of the 1,300 senior executives polled, only 20 percent backed the Thames Estuary airport plan, as favoured by London Mayor Boris Johnson.
The poll coincides with the opening of World Travel Market 2012, and also comes as Sir Howard Davies begins his government-commissioned work into the UK airport sector.
World Travel Market director Simon Press said: “It is clear that senior travel executives from around the globe are in favour of expanding the UK’s primary airport with a third runway at Heathrow.
“Expanding other airports in south-east England is more popular than building a new airport which suggests that our overseas colleagues think the UK Government should steer clear from an ambitious if expensive solution when there are better options available.”
At the weekend, Prime Minster David Cameron was quoted in The Times saying Boris Johnson was wrong to dismiss a third runway at Heathrow and he will not be given a veto on the issue.
He said: “In the end the decision is a national decision that the government has to lead.”
It was “not right” he only wanted his preferred options considered, he added.
But Johnson said he felt the decision-making process was too slow and represented a “policy of utter inertia”.
He described the idea of a third Heathrow runway as “a complete disaster” and “simply will not happen”.
The government has so far resisted pressure to build a third runway at the London airport - but many businesses have been lobbying for its expansion.