Uncertainty over Heathrow expansion lingered for too long

Decision better than indecision, says LBS expert


Uncertainty over the decision to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport lingered for too long, according to one London Business School expert.

Freek Vermeulen, Term Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, London Business School, said that the government’s approval of the third runway at Heathrow represented the typical difficulties of a strategic decision.

“Strategic decisions such as the third runway at Heathrow have major, long-term consequences,” says Dr Vermeulen. “They are fraught with uncertainty and there are pros and cons for each of the options.

“Often, people put off making a decision for the fear of getting it wrong. Yet, the worst thing one can do in a situation like this is not make a choice at all and just let it linger – just as happened here for too long.”

We may never learn whether the alternative options, which included a second runway at Gatwick Airport, would have been better, says Dr Vermeulen.

“If the various options have been properly analysed it doesn’t really matter any more what you choose, as long as you choose something. Decision is better than indecision.”

About Freek Vermeulen

Freek Vermeulen is an Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at London Business School.

He teaches on the following programmes: