The countrys aviation crisis has been well publicised, but it should be pointed out that the UK is well-served for airports, and it is the future performance of our hub destination, Heathrow, that is the real concern.
A hub airport is a central transfer point for connecting flights, joining destinations that are not linked directly, in much the same way that thousands of commuters change trains at Clapham Junction or Kings Cross railway stations each day.
Heathrow, which is considered small for a hub, is hamstrung because of the growing demand for air travel, and the airport continues to call for more runways, despite this option being ruled out in the past on environmental and sustainability grounds.
Heathrow policy director, Nigel Milton, has conceded the airport had yet to win back the trust of west Londoners, having misled them in the past.
Mr Milton, who is also responsible for political relations, said broken promises from the airports previous management about its growth and ambition meant Heathrows reputation was still tarnished, and work needed to be done to improve the relationship with the affected communities.
He was speaking at a round-table meeting with airport bosses to thrash out solutions to the countrys impending airport hub capacity crisis, and was responding to London assembly member Tony Arbour, who criticised Heathrows political threat, adding that it would be forced to close and west London would lose the unique economic benefits if it was decided that a new hub airport should be built elsewhere.
Those people who live close to Heathrow say that the arguments of Heathrow cannot be believed, said Mr Arbour.
Give Heathrow a few extra slots and they want a terminal. Give them a terminal and they want a new runway. Theres no end to it, and enough is enough. Why should we believe you now?
Heathrow has led the argument for a single hub airport which is big enough to meet the countrys connectivity needs, outlined in its One Hub Or None report published last November.
For now it is the hub for the UK, and remains one of the busiest destinations in the world, but with only two runways it is operating at more than 99 per cent capacity and cannot accommodate new flights to emerging economies in the East, which will be important for future global trade and prosperity.
Heathrow has tirelessly lobbied for permission to expand, and Mr Milton said that the unsatisfied demand for capacity in London has led to multi-national companies looking to other major European cities, with bigger hub airports and better international links, when considering headquarters.
We are competing with Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and Paris, he said.
They have more links to these emerging economies than we do. We are seeing companies based in those emerging economies set up their EU headquarters in other EU countries.
International connectivity is a major consideration. If London isnt as well connected in the future, we wont see as many of these companies basing themselves here.
He conceded that the noise impact for residents in the flight path was considerable, and said the airport was working towards appointing an independent noise regulator.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, remains a staunch opponent of expansion at Heathrow, and has led calls for a new hub airport in east London.
Daniel Moylan, his aviation adviser, said Heathrow was a hub not capable of growth and the four runways required would be unacceptable, but the west London economy could survive its closure.
He said: The development opportunities of the Heathrow site itself would create considerable jobs.
The leader of Hillingdon Council [Ray Puddifoot] has said he is now willing to contemplate the closure of Heathrow because although it would have, in some senses, a damaging effect on the labour market now, he thinks with the right planning the London economy is vital enough.
Its a price he is willing to pay. We are talking about a process in which people and businesses will be able to plan [for Heathrows closure] for over a 15 to 20 year period.
Hillingdon Council gave evidence to the Commons transport select committee recently, in which it seemed to position itself for a time when Heathrow is either fading away or closed, and the different economic challenges and oportunities that would create.
The round table meeting was called by the Greater London Authority (GLA), which is carrying out an investigation into airport capacity and gathering evidence for its submission to the independent Davies Commission, which is looking into ways to improve the countrys hub capacity.
Locations, potential economic benefits and blights and environmental impacts will be factors.
The review is due to report its findings and make recommendations to the government in July 2015, after the next general election.
Hayes and Harlington MP John McDonnell and Mr Puddifoot are among a group of politicians critical of the lack of urgency, and have recently signed an open letter to the Department for Transport calling for the government not to prolong this lengthy period of uncertainty, and bring forward the final report of the Commission.