Heathrow press releases

03 February, 2015

Heathrow: Best for Britain, backed by Britain

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  • Greatest benefit for the whole of the UK
  • Politically, financially and environmentally deliverable
  • Support across the country continues to grow


CEO John Holland-Kaye today set out why expansion at Heathrow, Britain’s only hub airport, is the best option for the whole of the UK and is backed by organisations across the nation. The comments come at the end of the Airports Commission’s consultation, established to identify the ‘scale and timing of any requirement for additional capacity to maintain the UK’s position as Europe’s most important aviation hub.’

Heathrow’s consultation response sets out why the airport is Best for Britain. Heathrow expansion will deliver:


  • More connections to long-haul global growth. Heathrow is the only option that can deliver up to 40 new long-haul destinations, making it easier for British business people to get to the world and for tourists, students and inward investors to get here. Air China and Vietnam Airlines’ decision to pull out of Gatwick is the latest evidence that only Heathrow can sustain these long-haul routes.


  • More freight exports. Expansion will double capacity at Britain’s most important port, and support the Government’s target to double UK exports. Heathrow carries more than one-quarter of UK exports and more freight by value than Felixstowe and Southampton combined, and more than fifteen times the amount that goes through Gatwick.


  • More connections to every part of Britain. An expanded Heathrow will connect all regions and nations of Britain to the world with more rail and air links, helping to rebalance the British economy. EasyJet plans to operate flights to seven UK airports - three not currently served from Heathrow - increasing competition on the other four.


  • More competition and choice. Heathrow expansion will allow new airlines to operate, providing more competition and lower fares for passengers. 30 airlines would like to enter Heathrow or add new services once new capacity is provided, including easyJet, which plans to add 68 routes, 19 of which are currently un-served.


Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye said:

“Heathrow is best for Britain and backed by Britain. Only Heathrow will deliver up to £211bn in economic benefits and up to 180,000 jobs, connect the whole of the UK to long-haul global growth markets, and deliver the freight capacity exporters need. That’s why people in every part of Britain are supporting Heathrow as the right option for expansion.

“We can expand whilst reducing noise for local residents and meeting carbon and air quality targets. We have improved our plans by listening to the communities around Heathrow. Now there are increasing calls from local residents to expand the airport.”

Backed by Britain. Heathrow expansion is supported by:


  • Local people. Over 50% of people in constituencies surrounding Heathrow support expansion and 17% are undecided[i]. The ‘Back Heathrow’ campaign is supported by 80,000 people, and growing.


  • UK business and employees. Trade associations such as the manufacturers’ organisation EEF, Freight Transport Association (FTA) and British American Business (BAB) back Heathrow. Trade unions such as Unite and GMB are backing Heathrow.


  • UK nations and regions. 30 Chambers of Commerce from Kent to South Wales to Inverness support Heathrow, as do regional airports such as Newcastle, Aberdeen, Leeds-Bradford, Liverpool and Glasgow.


  • Airlines. Top network airlines from around the globe have confirmed Heathrow as the right option, as have the major airline alliances, major low cost carriers like easyJet and emerging airlines like Vietnam Airlines.


  • Elected representatives. 58% of MPs back expansion at Heathrow compared to 13% who support Gatwick to solve the issues of hub airport capacity. [ii]


CBI, Deputy Director-General Katja Hall, has said:

“It tends to be hub airports that deliver the new connections to emerging markets that we desperately need. With Heathrow full and the UK slipping behind in the race for new connectivity, it is essential that the Airports Commission delivers a solution that addresses the ticking time bomb of our lack of spare hub capacity.” [iii]

(September 2014)

Unite the Union national officer Oliver Richardson said:

“Unite the Union fully supports the expansion and continued growth of Heathrow as the UK’s hub airport, as it is vital for the economy, the maintenance of decent jobs and the sustainability of local communities. Only growth at Heathrow can connect the UK globally on the scale that is required.” [iv]

Deliverable within environmental limits by 2025. Heathrow expansion is:


  • Deliverable with fewer people affected by noise than today. The Airports Commission’s independent assessment confirms that fewer people would be affected by noise with Heathrow expansion than today.


  • Deliverable while treating local communities fairly. Our new property compensation scheme means homeowners whose properties need to be purchased would receive 125% market value compensation plus stamp duty costs on a new home. We are proposing a new noise insulation scheme which would cover over160,000 homes within a zone based on the 55 decibel noise contour, the preferred measure of noise used by the European Union and the Mayor of London.


  • Deliverable within carbon targets. Expansion at Heathrow would end aircraft stacking over London. The independent Committee on Climate Change has confirmed that aviation growth is consistent with meeting UK climate change targets.


  • Deliverable within air quality limits. Heathrow expansion can take place without additional cars on the road. Our proposals include providing incentives for people to use public transport, opportunities to make more efficient use of cars, and reducing staff car parking spaces to promote more sustainable transport options.


  • Deliverable by 2025. A new detailed constructability study by Mace shows Heathrow’s new runway would be operational by June 2025 if Government gives policy approval after the election. We have a successful track record - Heathrow has delivered two brand new world-class terminals in the middle of the busiest two-runway airport in the world. Both were completed on time and on budget.


  • Deliverable with private finance. Heathrow is the largest privately-funded airport in the world, with an asset base of £14bn, £2bn in revenues, and a well-established and resilient funding platform. Heathrow has clear passenger and airline demand which is the bedrock of a strong business case.


Referencing Heathrow’s proposed new noise compensation package, HACAN chair John Stewart said:

“There is no doubt that this is much more generous than anything we have seen before and it brings Heathrow into line with other major European airports.”

Notes to editors [i] Populus, December 2014 [ii] Ipsos Mori, September 2014 [iii] http://www.cbi.org.uk/media-centre/press-releases/2014/09/uk-must-have-a-single-hub-airport/ [iv] Taken from ‘Voices for our airport’, Back Heathrow’s response to the Airports Commission consultation


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