I would like to respond to a number of letters from local residents about the airport expansion at Heathrow.
BAA is aware that the decision to expand the airport has been a very difficult issue, particularly for residents who will be directly affected.
We intend to work closely with the local community as the planning process proceeds and provide as much information and support as possible.
The economic case for a third runway is strong; currently Heathrow supports around 72,000 direct jobs, making it the largest single-site employer in the UK.
In some local boroughs, as many as one in every 10 people in employment works at the airport.
Maintaining Heathrow's international hub status is not just important for the airport, it is important for the UK.
The bigger the network of its direct air routes, the more attractive a city and a country become to domestic business, overseas tourists and foreign investors seeking locations in which to site their business.
In terms of the local environment, at present, Heathrow, like many other areas in London, suffers relatively poor air quality.
Some of this is due to emissions from aircraft but the majority is related to road vehicles.
Air quality around the airport is slowly improving and there are several important developments that will help reduce pollution further over the next few years.
The Government has clearly stated that a third runway will not go ahead unless strict environmental limits are met: no more noise overall than in 2002; air quality better than it is today; and improvements to public transport.
To help assure the public that these environmental limits will be adhered to, the Government has appointed the CAA and the Environment Agency to have independent oversight of the limits on noise and air quality respectively.
If for any reason the limits are not being met, both organisations will have statutory powers to limit the number of flights on a third runway.
group head of media, BAA, Bath Road,