BMI claims the future of the aviation industry depends on the expansion of Heathrow airport.

The airline, which is the second biggest at Heathrow, believes that a failure to develop a third runway and improved transport links at the airport will result in a decline in the travel industry and, in the current climate, the loss of thousands of jobs.

It also believes that customers will turn away in favour of alternative and more modern European hubs.

Residents are concerned about the noise and pollution associated with Heathrow expansion plans but BMI remains confident that there is no environmental threat.

Speaking at a Future Heathrow press conference, BMI deputy chief executive Tim Bye said: “If we want Heathrow to maintain its pre-eminent position and international status as well as its competitive edge, it needs improvement, expansion and better transport links.

“The future of the aviation industry, with all of the jobs and commercial benefits that go with it, is hugely dependent on the existence of a world-class international hub airport in London.”