Top executives at Sainsbury's, Carphone Warehouse and BSkyB call on government to rethink plans for third runway

Plans to build a third runway at Heathrow airport hit yet another snag this weekend as a cadre of top business executives came out in opposition to the government's plans.

Chief executives and chairmen of companies including BSkyB, News Corporation and Sainsbury's are to publish an open letter calling for the government to reconsider proposals to build a new runway at the UK's top airport.

The letter is expected to say that alternative business cases for expansion of the rail infrastructure have not been given enough consideration.

The arguments echo the opposition of the Conservative party, which proposed a high-speed rail link between London and Leeds as an alternative to expansion at Heathrow.

However, the letter runs counter to the support given to Heathrow's expansion plans by the CBI, which said increasing the size of the airport was essential to keep Britain internationally competitive.

The letter is reportedly signed by industry giants such as Justin King, chief executive of Sainsbury's, James Murdoch, head of News Corporation in Europe and Asia, and Charles Dunstone, head of Carphone Warehouse.