- IOD, CBI, FSB and BCC amongst supporters lining up to call on government to act on the Airports Commission’s clear and positive recommendation for Heathrow expansion
- Over 80 percent of the total 72,000 responses received by the Commission were supportive of Heathrow expansion
- Sir Howard Davies warns the government not to put the UK’s world-leading connectivity at risk by failing to expand Heathrow
Business groups across Britain have lined up to support Heathrow expansion, on the day that the Airports Commission concluded that Heathrow is “the best answer to expand [Britain’s] runway capacity”.
Groups representing businesses large and small across the country including the FSB, IoD, BCC and CBI have united in calling for government to act on the Commission’s positive recommendation. Documents published alongside the recommendation show the overwhelming support for Heathrow received by the Commission - 58,000 - over 80% - of the total 72,000 responses received by them were from Heathrow supporters[i].
Building on the Commission’s conclusion that “in a complex and competitive global environment, it would be short-sighted and perilous to place the UK’s world-leading connectivity at risk by failing to address these constraints” business groups have said:
John Cridland, CBI Director-General said:
“Now that Sir Howard’s Commission has made its recommendation, the Government must commit to the decision now, and get diggers in the ground at Heathrow swiftly by 2020.
“Growing airport capacity in the South East is absolutely critical to the whole of the UK’s economic future - it simply isn’t an optional “nice to do”. Each day the Government delays taking the decision, the UK loses out as our competitors reap the rewards and strengthen their trade links.
“Creating new routes to emerging markets will open doors to trade, boosting growth, creating jobs and driving investment right across the country. Our research shows that eight new daily routes alone could boost exports by up to £1 billion a year.
“The UK’s economic future cannot be kept waiting on the tarmac any longer. By taking the decision now, the Government can send the message, loud and clear, that Britain is open for business.”
John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:
“After three years of deliberation, businesses across the UK will be pleased that the Airports Commission has finally come to a clear recommendation.
“Now that all the evidence is on the table, firms in every corner of the UK want to see an irreversible government commitment to a new runway at Heathrow by the end of 2015, with planning complete and diggers on the ground by the end of this parliament in 2020.
“The ball is now firmly in the government’s court. If ministers duck this decision, and delay airport expansion for yet another generation, British businesses and our overall competitiveness will pay the price.
"Business long ago ran out of patience. The government cannot afford to delay airport expansion any further if it is serious about Britain punching above its weight on the global stage. That means delivering a new runway at Heathrow now, and leaving the door open to subsequent expansion at Gatwick, Stansted and key regional airports as well."
Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute Of Directors, said:
“The IoD warmly welcomes the Airports Commission’s recommendation to expand Heathrow. There is a clear business case for a new runway, with only 3% of our members believing that our current airport infrastructure is sufficient to ensure the UK’s long-term economic growth. Access to markets overseas is absolutely vital for firms to trade, with 75% of our members, many of whom run small or medium-sized companies, having flown for business in the last year. 40% of members expect to fly ‘much more’ for business in the future, and particularly need the links to emerging economies which expanding Heathrow would create.
“This is the issue that has been kicked down the road time and again, but there can now be no further delay from politicians. Sir Howard has left the government with no excuse to put off this vital decision again, and if ministers do not proceed with all possible speed it will send a clear signal that the UK is not interested in being a modern, outward-looking, trading nation.
Federation of Small Business (FSB) Chairman, John Allan said:
“After much consultation and analysis the Airports Commission has recommended expansion at Heathrow as the best option for the UK. With the decision in, there must not be any further excuses or delays. To do so is to put the long-term economic health of the UK at risk. All the options under consideration had their advantages, but it’s clear that the business and wider economic case for Heathrow proved decisive. The tremendous benefits in terms of growth and jobs are clear.
“We are pleased the report has taken into account the growth impact on the rest of the country, making a number of helpful suggestions to ensure benefits of airport expansion are felt in regions beyond London and the South East. Davies has also suggested a number of safeguards that should minimise the environmental impact of expansion on the local area. Although this option could present greater political challenges, Ministers must not use this as an excuse for inaction.
“What this process has made clear is that we cannot continue to delay the big decisions on national infrastructure which simply holds back the ambitions of the country. New roads, broadband infrastructure, and improved regional and national transport links are vital to our future economic growth and wellbeing. A longer term transport strategy, which takes all modes of transport into account, is required to deliver this.”
Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive of London First, said:
“With half a century of indecision on airports expansion behind us, it’s time for the government to implement the Commission’s recommendation and get on with a new runway at Heathrow. Anything else is now inexcusable.
“After three years of investigation, the Commission has unambiguously concluded that expanding Heathrow will boost the UK economy and reinforce London as a global hub for business.
“Yes, Sir Howard’s report shows there are obstacles – particularly noise and environmental – but he has also demonstrated that these can and should be overcome.
“The report gives the Government an up-to-date, comprehensive, and independent analysis of our runway needs.
Chris Welsh, FTA’s Director of Global and European Policy, said:
“It is reassuring that Sir Howard has reviewed all the evidence and concluded that a third runway at Heathrow is the best option, ensuring the UK remains competitive in the global air freight market.
“Additional capacity at Heathrow is critical to allow importers and exporters to access new and emerging markets in Asia, South America and the Indian sub-continent. FTA urges the Government to take on board these recommendations and act quickly.”
Chris Fletcher, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce’s Policy Director said:
“The Chamber welcomes the findings of the Airport Commission and the news that a recommendation for a third runway at Heathrow has been made.
It is important that government now moves quickly to make a final decision on this for the economic benefit of the UK. This whole issue has been delayed for far too long and ducking decisions in the past has meant we are in the position we find ourselves today.
Coming on the back of recent announcements about huge investment at Manchester Airport and increasingly positive noises about HS2 it is crucial that this now begins to form part of a truly joined up national infrastructure and transport strategy.”
North East Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, James Ramsbotham has said:
“Today’s Davies Report has given the right recommendation. While we want as many direct flights coming in and out of North East airports as possible, an expanded national hub is an essential requirement.
“The economic benefits of a third runway at Heathrow Airport are way in advance of any other options. Many of these benefits are set to be of advantage to regions outside the South East, ourselves included.
“The Commission has done what the Government has asked of it in that their recommendation represents the needs of the United Kingdom as a whole. The onus is now on our politicians to make a final decision and implement this without delay.”
Stephen Fry, Hounslow Chamber CEO said:
“We are delighted that the Commission has realised the weight of the economic and business arguments in favour of expansion at Heathrow and supported the thousands of businesses and people working in the Heathrow Economy, it has given them confidence to grow their firms based on the continued growth of the UK Hub Airport.”
“My only concern is that the Commission’s findings and recommendations will be ignored. The main political parties promised to back Sir Howard Davies recommendations and they must now do so and honour their pledge.”
“It has taken a lot of work and courage to get this far from ordinary people who run ordinary small local businesses. They must not be let down and abandoned”
Carolyn McCall, CEO of easyJet said:
“easyJet supports the Airports Commission’s clear and unanimous recommendation and agrees that expansion at Heathrow will provide the greatest passenger and economic benefits, including lower fares by opening up the airport to increased competition. Expansion at Heathrow will bring significant benefits to all parts of the UK and is in the best interests of all passengers – both business and leisure, long and short haul.
“Expansion at Heathrow must be delivered sustainably. Local noise and environmental impacts need to be addressed and easyJet supports the Commission’s recommendations on these issues.
“We now urge the Government to quickly proceed with the Commission’s recommendation and start the work to increase the aviation capacity for the UK.”
John Parkin Leeds Bradford Airports Chief Executive commented:
"Leeds Bradford Airport welcomes the recommendation of the Davies Commission to build a third runway at Heathrow.
Heathrow’s growth and an increase in LBA services to London’s hub airport will boost Yorkshires economy by increasing its export potential, deliver jobs, drive inward investment to the region and attract more overseas visitors to visit our wonderful cities and countryside."
London Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive, Colin Stanbridge said:
“We welcome the final report of the Airports Commission and its clear decision on Heathrow. The time for talk is now over. We urge Government not to kick this report into the long grass but give clear political leadership and move swiftly on expanding Heathrow.
“However Ministers should also be considering how to future-proof the UK economy. The Airports Commission has said that a new runway will provide the capacity the UK needs until 2040. Gatwick is a strategic economic asset to the UK and its post 2040 potential should be consideration in governmental long term thinking.
“We must not lose sight of the fact that the UK faces an immediate challenge – with a new runway not operational until the mid-2020s, Ministers now need to enact short-term measures to boost capacity within the next decade.
Terry Scuoler, Chief Executive of EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said:
“Heathrow is a global freight hub and the clear preference for manufacturers with a business need for aviation expansion. Today's recommendation that Heathrow should be allowed to expand is the right one for industry and the country.”
“We now have a recommendation that has already taken a Parliament to make and the Government now needs to get on with the job of implementing it. The aim must be for planning permission to be granted before the end of this Parliament.”
A spokesperson for Liverpool John Lennon Airport commented:
"Liverpool John Lennon Airport welcomes this news and now urges the Government to give the go ahead of this important expansion of Heathrow so that regional airports such as Liverpool can soon benefit too by the opening up of access to the UK’s hub airport for improved worldwide connectivity".
David Laws, Chief Executive at Newcastle International Airport, said:
“We have had great faith in the process undertaken by Sir Howard Davies and his colleagues on the Airports Commission.
“We are very pleased that the Commission has made what we consider to be the right recommendation. Heathrow is the UK’s only hub airport, and is one of the most important hubs in the world, but it is full.
“The North East currently enjoys good connectivity into Heathrow with up to seven British Airways services a day, delivering 500,000 passengers from the North East. By constructing a third runway, and providing additional capacity, these services can be safeguarded, but can in the future also connect to a much wider range of global destinations.
“We urge the Government to agree to the recommendations of this Commission at the earliest opportunity, and set about the process of delivering this globally important scheme.
“There will be local political opposition to the third runway, but this must be overcome, as the building of the runway will be in the national interest.”
Councillor Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council, and Lead for the LA7 Shareholders, said:
“The future success of the North East economy is dependent upon our region having good connectivity.
“In recent years we have secured services to key global hubs, including Dubai and New York, to compliment the likes of Amsterdam, Paris and Brussels.
“In terms of passenger numbers, however, Heathrow remains our largest hub connection. I welcome the fact that in recommending the expansion of Heathrow, the Airports Commission has recognised it’s importance to regions such as the North East.
“The Local Authorities will now work with the team at the airport, and other regional stakeholders to encourage the Government to back this recommendation and move ahead with the new runway.”
Chair of the North Eastern Local Enterprise Partnership, Paul Woolston, added:
“The Strategic Economic Plan for the North East is aimed at delivering more and better jobs.
“This can only be achieved and is supported by better transport networks, connecting the North East to that national and international economy.
“The expansion of Heathrow would help safeguard both our national and international connections, ensuring north eastern businesses are able to continue to benefit from the connections currently available. Moreover, businesses would eventually be able to exploit the opportunity provided by an expanded range of routes to growth markets that the new runway would open up.
“We are keen to see the government now commit to the delivery of a third runway at Heathrow, with connectivity for regions like the North East at the heart of this decision.”
David Sleath, Chief Executive of SEGRO, said:
"SEGRO welcomes this decision. We have long argued that for Britain to succeed in the global economy, we need new hub capacity and that means building a third runway at Heathrow.
"The Airports Commission has come to the right decision, which will help UK businesses to expand into key emerging markets in Asia and South America. We have been falling behind our international competitors for too long, as new direct routes to these emerging markets have continued to grow from other European and Middle Eastern competitor hubs.
"Government need to bring an end to indecision and back Sir Howard's recommendation and let Heathrow get on with building the new runway as quickly as possible."
TheCityUK Chief Executive, Chris Cummings said,
"TheCityUK believes that the UK’s place as a global financial centre, its ability to compete in international markets and its export-led recovery could be stifled without additional airport capacity.
"TheCityUK supported the creation of the Airports Commission and its work assessing the UK’s future aviation capacity, including the options for a new runway in the south east of England. There were strong arguments, both economic and social, for the final options but we have reached the point where the Airports Commission’s recommendations should be implemented immediately.
"Expanding airport capacity is necessary to secure the economic recovery, to create valuable jobs and sustain our international competitiveness. The country simply cannot afford any further delays."
Wilson James’ CEO, Mark Dobson said:
“Wilson James supports the Commission’s recommendation to expand Heathrow. This is now a test for the government to implement the recommendation and show the UK is open for business.”
Glasgow Airport’s Managing Director, Amanda McMillan said:
“Glasgow Airport will actively seek to secure direct links with hub airports throughout Europe and beyond. However, Scotland’s population is of a size which means it can only ever sustain a certain number of direct flights. It is for this reason we support the expansion of Heathrow, however, an expanded Heathrow must deliver further access for Glasgow and Scotland. We would call on the UK Government to act swiftly and implement the findings of the Airports Commission.”
Unite London regional secretary Peter Kavanagh said:
"The government needs to move swiftly and take forward the Airports Commission's recommendations.
“The livelihoods of over 100,000 people working at Heathrow and those of tens of thousands in associated industries would be secured under this plan which cements Heathrow's status as a world leader. This option, with the safeguards provided, delivers the biggest boost to the economy and will create over 70,000 jobs.
“Any further delay and uncertainty risks Heathrow losing out to rival airports across the globe, which is why the government now needs to show leadership and give the green light to Heathrow’s expansion."
Councillor Rob Anderson, leader of Slough Borough Council, said:
“We are delighted with the Davies Commission’s decision, which we believe secures the long-term prosperity of Slough.
“We are also pleased with endorsement of the north-west runway option, which we believe will have less impact on residents, homes and the environment in the east of the borough.
“We will be building on our strong partnership with Heathrow to secure benefits for the people of the borough and ensure mitigation for residents and businesses affected by the expansion.”
A spokesperson for the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce said:
'We welcome the Airports Commission recommendation of a third runway at Heathrow and call for government to make its decision as soon as possible.
The decision about airport expansion is about more than passengers. Heathrow is Britain’s most important freight port. It carries one-quarter of all UK exports – twice the amount of the UK’s two largest shipping container ports combined. Yet Heathrow’s cargo capacity on routes to the Asia Pacific is already exhausted – running at 97% capacity. If we want to double British exports we need to expand Heathrow.
Only Heathrow will connect to every part of Britain: every part of the UK needs access to global markets. An expanded Heathrow will have new rail links making it easier for every part of Britain to access global markets. Every part of Britain will be a more attractive location for inward investment. Heathrow will be an airport for the whole country, not just for London and the South-East.
[i] -Responses from Back Heathrow - 53,315
- Your Heathrow - 5,372
- Total - 58,687