The decision on expanding airport capacity in south-east England has been deferred until at least October.
David Cameron was expected to confirm whether projects at Heathrow or Gatwick would get the go-ahead, but his resignation after the Brexit vote means a decision will not be made until a new leader is elected.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: Being realistic, given recent events, I cannot now foresee an announcement until at least October.”
Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye claimed “expanding Heathrow must be a key building block in the Government’s Brexit plan”. He added: “The Government can send the strongest possible signal that Britain is open for business by expanding Heathrow.”
But his counterpart at Gatwick, Stewart Wingate, told the Press Association: “The enormous pollution of noise and air quality that Heathrow inflicts on hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, is an issue that politicians are going to have to grapple with.
“If you look at Gatwick, we have a tiny fraction of the environmental impact of Heathrow, yet you get all of the same economic benefits.”