An airline boss has spoken out against the government’s decision to grant a third runway at Heathrow airport.

Monarch Airlines managing director Tim Jeans believes the controversial decision which came after months of airline lobbying has opened the industry to the accusation that it does not care about the environment.

Instead, he believes the public will think airlines are only interested in growing their own businesses with the government’s backing. He said the airline industry would one day regret the decision to grant the £9 billion expansion which will also see the building of a sixth terminal.

Jeans said: “Business interests have taken priority over the environment. If the government hadn’t done it then it would have looked like they were against British jobs.

“I think the argument that the UK would lose out to the likes of (rival European hub) Schipol airport in Amsterdam and Charles de Gaulle airport Paris won the day.

“I can understand why people are cynical about aviation’s claim to protect the environment when decisions are made like this. People will get increasingly cynical that the environment is a priority and I just hope our industry doesn’t regret this in the long run.”

Jeans said expansion would have been better taking place at Gatwick, where he admits his own aircraft fly from, if it were to take place at all.

He added more could have been made of the high-speed rail network connecting Scotland and the north with the airport and Europe the government has promised to build as part  of the deal.

Jeans said: “We recognise there’s a need for more capacity in the south east as we’re pretty much full but Heathrow is no the right place to put it.”