THE argument by 100 big businesses calling for expansion at Heathrow Airport has been rejected by campaign group HACAN Clearskies.
The anti-noise group says the statement Heathrow needs to expand for the UK to retain access to global markets, particularly those from the fast-emerging economies of China and India, is misplaced.
HACAN argues the way forward is to cut the number of slots at Heathrow available to short-haul flights.
This would free up space for an increase in long-haul flights from the developing economies of India and China without the need to expand the airport.
Chairman John Stewart said: "A survey we carried out in 2006 showed that well over a third of the flights currently using the airport are to short-haul destinations in the UK and Europe.
"Paris remains Heathrow's top destination with over 50 flights on a typical day. It is these flights which are clogging up the airport's runways."
HACAN also argued that it was not valid to compare Heathrow with Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.
Mr Stewart added: "It is not comparing like with like. The more valid comparison is between all the airports serving London and all the airports in those other cities.
"When this is done, the figures show that more passengers use London's airports than any those at other city in the world.
"Our nearest European rival, Paris, is in fifth place, with Amsterdam and Frankfurt outside the top ten.
"The fact is that London already has excellent air links to the rest of the world. They can get better. But that does not dependent on Heathrow expansion.
"It requires the Government to ask itself whether over 200,000 flights a year serving short-haul destinations is really the way to turn Heathrow into London's premium business airport.
"This latest call for expansion shows just how divided the business community is on the Heathrow expansion.
"Earlier this year London First, representing big business in London, put the emphasis on a better rather than bigger Heathrow.
"And Bob Ayling, the former boss of British Airways, has said that Heathrow expansion would be 'a costly mistake'."