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News that Patrick McLoughlin, the UK's new transport secretary, has postponed his decision over Heathrow's third runway until after the next General Election, in 2015, has prompted a collective groan across the aviation industry and the wider business community.
"How many more reviews do we actually need," asked Laurie Price, former aviation adviser to the select transport committee between 1997 and 2005, in his opening remarks at a conference in London last week.
Previous attempts to reach a consensus on airport expansion have included the 1971 Roskill Commission and the 2003 Future of Air Transport White Paper. These, however, have often appeared to kick decision-making into the long-grass, sparing successive governments the headache of long-term infrastructure projects that risk angering the electorate, while delivering scant benefit to their political backers...