Officials at British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are praising the government's decision to approve the construction of a new, $13 billion runway at London Heathrow Airport, while opponents vow to stall the project pending midyear elections that could sweep the Labour Party from power. Business leaders and airport officials say the runway is needed to keep Heathrow competitive with other European airports, including Amsterdam Schipol and Paris Charles de Gaulle. In announcing its decision, the government said it would spend billions on rail links and other steps to minimize the runway's environmental impact.

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