By Kirsty Topping
PLANS for a second runway at Edinburgh airport could be back on track after bosses revealed an expansion in the number of flights.
BAA have revealed they expect passenger numbers to rise dramatically over the next few years, and they predict that numbers could double to 20 million by 2040.
The rise raises the possibility that a second runway could be built, despite the airport chiefs hinting last year that plans had been scrapped.
The current runway could also be lengthened to allow more long-haul flights to take off from the capital.
The plans have been slammed as
“utterly selfish’ by green campaigners.
Kevin Brown, the airport’s managing director, said: “The masterplan is our vision for our airport.
“It is a document that shows Edinburgh Airport, as Scotland’s busiest airport, is playing a crucial role in the growth and prosperity of Edinburgh, the Lothians and Scotland as a whole.
“We had an excellent and positive response to our consultation.
“Many agree with our growth figures and are supportive of having a strong and growing airport in Edinburgh.
“Equally, they value our responsible and sustainable approach to our development.”
But Stan Blackley, chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “These plans are utterly selfish, particularly when aviation is a considerable contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
“There is no such thing as sustainable aviation, and these expansion plans fly in the face of the Scottish Government’s world-leading targets for reducing carbon emissions.”
The airport to develop on 85 hectares of land currently occupied by the Royal Highland Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) and expand the current terminal building.
The airport eventually plans to take over 280 hectares north of the existing airport boundary for the second runway, though this would not happen until 2040.
A new runway would allow for larger aircraft to fly into Edinburgh and see the number of flights increase from 37 to 53 an hour by 2040.