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Wednesday, 14 November, 2001, 15:58 GMT
Heathrow T5 could 'save' industry
The T5 announcement is expected within 10 days
The go-ahead for Terminal Five (T5) at Heathrow could help Britain's struggling aviation industry, a Tory MP has said.

MPs in the commons have also been calling for emergency help from the government to safeguard jobs at Heathrow and Gatwick.

In a special debate about the current crisis in the airline industry, ministers asked for financial support to combat the downturn in passenger numbers and the rising costs for airlines since 11 September.

Tory MP David Wilshire, whose Spelthorne constituency covers part of Heathrow, pointed to the $15bn of aid given to American carriers by the US government.

'Shot in the arm'

He said: "Foreign airlines who are having just as much trouble as British airlines are receiving massive government aid in order to keep them afloat.

"If we don't take note of that, we are the ones who will lose most of the jobs while the foreign governments support their local airlines at our expense."

Mr Wilshire said the government should also give the industry a "shot in the arm" by announcing it would build a fifth terminal at Heathrow.

He claimed that delays in making a decision had caused enormous damage to the industry as rival airports abroad expanded rapidly.

Plane crash

Mr Wilshire said: "We need this proof that we have a confidence in the future not just of Heathrow but of British aviation and we are determined to act straight away."

On Tuesday campaigners claimed the latest plane crash in New York strengthens the case against a fifth terminal at Heathrow.

Members of Heathrow association for the control of aircraft noise (Hacan) say people living under the flight path will be more at risk if Heathrow expands.

They say if there is a need for more airport capacity in the south east it should be built away from large areas of population.

The campaign group said it has been told the government decision on T5 will be announced within 10 days.

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