Speaking in the House of Commons in 1999 I said that Heathrow was in danger of going the way of the London docks.
We were taking its continuing success for granted and ignoring the growing challenge from Continental hub airports.
Heathrow only flies to 180 destinations, compared to 227 in 1990. Frankfurt, in the centre of the EU, flies to 307. It has the European Central Bank and a growing financial sector challenging London. It has a modern hub airport connecting with rail and road. Amsterdam boasts on their web site how they have taken 1.25 million passengers from the UK and present themselves as the emerging hub airport for the UK.
The Mayor of London is campaigning for a new airport in the Thames Estuary. He is not alone in that campaign. A new airport is likely to have four runways. No one believes that you need four more runways as well as Heathrow. Heathrow would close with the loss of 72,000 jobs in the airport and another 100,000 who were dependent on it remaining a premier hub airport.
Heathrow expansion has to meet tough new environmental rules. Sending aircraft to the continent instead of London does not combat climate change, neither does stacking aircraft over London because there is no space to land at Heathrow.
We need a modern hub airport at Heathrow linked into the rail and road network like other European nations.
It's a tough choice but we can't duck it. Jobs and prosperity are at stake.