The new Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps had said that "all options" on the possibility of building a new airport in the south east of England would be examined in a forthcoming transport consultation.
"I think if we are going to remain a great trading nation in the future, you need to have ports," he told Today presenter James Naughtie.
"Airports are particularly important these days and there are a lack of slots in the south east around London and it must be addressed, otherwise we are dooming ourselves to economic failure in the future,"
But Mr Shapps added that it is "absolutely beyond any doubt" that there is not going to be a third runway built at Heathrow in this parliament.
His comments come as the the departure of Justine Greening as transport secretary in yesterday's government reshuffle is being seen by many as opening the way for a change of policy as she is a dedicated opponent of expansion at Heathrow Airport.
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