Heathrow press releases

25 October, 2016

UPDATED: National consensus emerges as businesses and politicians welcome Heathrow expansion

Heathrow Expansion CGI


Further comments from businesses and politicians welcoming Heathrow expansion: 


Adam Marshall, Director General, British Chambers of Commerce (BCC):

"Put simply, it's about time. Successive governments have prevaricated for far too long in the face of a blindingly obvious need for more runway capacity. Businesses will now want assurances that the final approval process for Heathrow's new runway will be smooth and swift, so that construction can begin as soon as possible. Westminster must not underestimate the impact that further delays would have on business confidence. The time for playing politics with our national connectivity is over.

"Building this runway will not only boost business confidence, it will also help firms access export opportunities, and attract investment from both UK and overseas businesses. For business communities around the rest of the UK, connectivity into an expanded Heathrow is critical, even as regional airports develop their own links to overseas business destinations. This new runway must be viewed as much about connecting the regions and nations to the world as it is about capacity for London and the South East. While most business communities will celebrate Heathrow expansion, this cannot and must not be the only new runway to be built in Britain over the coming decades. One new runway is not enough to give the UK the aviation capacity it requires to trade the world successfully. Airports like Gatwick, Birmingham, Stansted, and others with growth aspirations should also get the chance to expand and grow in the future."


Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales:

“I welcome this long-awaited announcement, which will benefit Welsh passengers, bring tourists to Wales, help our exporters reach new markets and create new jobs.

“It is crucial the people of Wales share the benefits of this major national infrastructure project. I fully expect a fair allocation of landing slots at the expanded airport and urge the UK Government to deliver the Western Rail Link to Heathrow by the 2024. The new link, alongside the electrification of the rail line to Swansea and modernisation of the north Wales mainline and Cardiff Central station, will ensure the people and economy of Wales benefit fully from the expansion of Heathrow.

“We will also work to ensure that Wales receives the consequentials to which it is entitled to under the Barnett formula. Although today’s announcement is welcome, we continue to press for Air Passenger Duty (APD) to be devolved to Wales.” 


Lord Adonis, Interim Chair, National Infrastructure Commission:

"This decision is a long overdue step in the right direction. It has been clear for decades that the UK needs additional airport capacity in the South East to remain open and competitive on the world stage, yet for far too long political indecision has prevented this. Meanwhile our competitors have surged ahead. In the time the UK has been considering a third runway all of our major European competitors have delivered increased capacity and are today benefiting from the new routes to emerging markets that come with it.

"If the UK is to deliver world leading infrastructure this culture of dither and delay must come to an end. We must replace years of political deadlock with clear eyed analysis, long-term planning and strategic decision making. This decision rightly follows the evidence, and Sir Howard Davies' expert advice – now it must be taken forward as quickly as possible."


Frances O'Grady, TUC General Secretary:

"The Heathrow expansion is absolutely vital for Britain. It will help our economy grow faster and stronger. This investment has the potential to create thousands of high-quality jobs and apprenticeships right across the UK.  The government must ensure that Heathrow expansion is put in the fast lane. Trade unions are ready to play their part providing the skilled workforce, delivering the project on-time and on-budget, and making sure it benefits UK businesses in the supply chain."


Mick Rix, GMB National Officer, Transport and Distribution:

"GMB has a long standing policy of support for Heathrow expansion for the best part of a decade. Heathrow expansion has a clear cut case. The airport needs expansion if it is to retain its world class status as a global hub airport. In recent years because of this long standing process work has slowly drifted to European competitor hub airports. Heathrow expansion is not reliant on public money. It will be built to stringent environmental standards. Heathrow must now mean Heathrow."

"This not only protects the 80,000 jobs directly employed at the airport but will increase to a further 114,000 jobs that will be needed, and 10,000 local apprenticeship schemes. The boost to the economy, and the earnings potential for the surrounding boroughs in West London, can also be measured with the boost it guarantees to our regional economies. Expansion also means that the delays people experience in their current Heathrow travel experience, will be severely minimised.

"The majority of people who live and work near the airport, business, and all major trade unions, and the TUC who have members employed by the airport are supportive of expansion. Heathrow expansion is a win, win for everyone. The time for dithering and political expediency has to stop, there is a clear cut case for Heathrow expansion, Heathrow expansion and the economy desperately needs decisiveness not delay."


Lilian Greenwood, Former Shadow Transport Secretary:

“During my time as Shadow Transport Secretary, I came to the view that Heathrow is the only credible option for runway expansion. It is the only proposal that would significantly boost both exports and regional airports if the right safeguards are in place. As groups ranging from the TUC to the CBI have said, tens of thousands of jobs would be generated – and thousands could be lost if expansion does not proceed. This is the right decision for Britain and it is now time for the Government to get on with it.  


Jim Shannon MP for Strangford and the DUP’s Transport Spokesperson:

“The DUP were the first political party in the UK to back Heathrow, we have always been clear it is both what will support growth in Northern Ireland and strengthen our Union.  It’s now time for the Government to get on with it and we will work with them to deliver it.”


Crispin Blunt, MP for Reigate and Chairman of the Gatwick Co-ordination Group:

“This is a decision in the national interest, approving anything other than Heathrow today would have let down the whole of the UK.

“Only Heathrow is able to develop the international aviation hub the UK requires to compete on the world stage, increase the UK’s export trade and provide long haul links for commerce and investment. The Government’s decision confirms the 3 years of deep and rigorous analysis by the Airports Commission. Gatwick being kept in the running leveraged a good package of mitigation measures and commitments from Heathrow, including a ban on night flights. Gatwick had already failed in making its case to the Airports Commission due to its inferior economic case, lack of resilient surface transport infrastructure and lack of any available local labour force to staff the airport.

“We are pleased that the blight on local communities around Gatwick is now being lifted as the prospect of the environmental destruction caused by increased local housing development and intolerable strains on the already over-stretched rail network, which a new runway at Gatwick would have entailed, is finally removed. It is now time for the owners of Gatwick to abandon their plans for a new runway and concentrate on restoring the previously constructive relationship with local residents which has so spectacularly disintegrated during this process.

“I would also like to thank the very wide coalition brought together by the Gatwick Coordination Group and for the work they have done. Over 2½ years ago we formally brought our efforts together within the Group and today delivers a significant victory for the people we represent.”


Jackie Baillie MSP, Scottish Labour’s Spokesperson for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work:

“Heathrow expansion is the right option for Scotland. New routes and cheaper fares will open up opportunities for businesses and create jobs.”


Andrew RT Davies, Leader of the Welsh Conservatives:

"Now more than ever Wales and Britain need to be globally facing, and the expansion of Heathrow Airport would be a major boost for trade and tourism. As such, we welcome the committee's approval for a third runway, which will serve to help the economy grow while creating thousands of jobs and apprenticeships across the country, and secure a lasting legacy for the entrepreneurs and innovators of Wales' future. Today's decision sends a clear message that Wales and Britain are open for business and that we welcome closer ties with countries around the world."


Craig Williams, MP for Cardiff North:

“Today’s announcement of a new runway at Heathrow is good news for the UK and for its aviation industry. For decades the UK has been playing catch-up with neighbouring countries and our international airports have almost reached capacity. This decision will improve our economy, especially in a post-Brexit world.”

“It is great news for South Wales as we can attract new investment and manufacturing to the region. It boosts tourism and means we are more competitive as UK exporters can access more international flights. With the Western Rail link to Heathrow we will be just two hours away from Heathrow, further putting Cardiff and South Wales on the international map. The decision will also be a boost for Welsh steel manufacturers during the construction process.”


Councillor Sohail Munawar, Leader of Slough Borough Council:

“We are extremely pleased with the government’s decision to support a third runway at Heathrow. Around 18,000 of our residents rely on Heathrow for a job and our proximity to the airport is one of the main reasons why we have the highest concentration of European and UK headquarters in the country.

“We believe expansion will not only secure the long-term prosperity of Slough but also that of the Thames Valley region and the UK. Given the huge benefits, we urge the government and Heathrow to push forward with expansion as soon as possible. Meanwhile, we will continue to build on our close relationship with Heathrow to get the best possible mitigation package for the residents and businesses affected.”


Sir Simon Burns, MP for Chelmsford and Former Aviation Minister:

“The Government has made the right choice for our transport infrastructure and for my constituents. As we leave the EU, it is more important than ever that we are connected to the emerging markets of the world – it’s how our exporters reach new markets and how tourists and investors reach our shores. Expanding Heathrow will create jobs and opportunity across the whole country, including the East of England.”


Gavin Shuker, MP for Luton and Chair of the Labour Party Transport Policy Group:

“I think the majority of Labour MPs in the parliamentary party wanted a decision, now we’ve got it. The majority also favour Heathrow. And, the Labour Party laid out four tests to be met. Our judgement is that they have been met and I think it’d be better for us as a party to be clear about that. Ordinary working people, represented by Unite, represented by GMB, want this.”


Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods, MP for City of Durham and Chair of North East Labour:

The decision today for Heathrow expansion is the right choice for the whole of the UK. For the North East, it will mean up to 5,000 jobs and £4bn in economic benefits, boosting growth and providing certainty post-Brexit. We are proud to be the strongest exporting region, and up to 40 new long haul routes via Heathrow will mean a diverse range of businesses across the North East can get their goods into emerging markets across the globe. I will press Heathrow to mitigate the environmental impact and impact on air quality of the expansion, particularly on the surrounding communities. 

The North East and our businesses stand ready to help build the new runway, and benefit from enhanced global connectivity via strong connections to the UK’s hub.


Stuart Andrew, MP for Pudsey, Horsforth and Aireborough:

“I am pleased to see the Government have recommended a decision on airport expansion, demonstrating real leadership. Moving forward, I am keen to make sure that the benefits of it are felt in our cities across the country, and will be pushing for increased links between Leeds and London to drive forward the northern powerhouse agenda and ensuring the benefits for the economy are shared in our area”


Graeme Mason, Planning and Corporate Affairs Director, Newcastle International Airport:

"We are pleased that the Government has agreed with the recommendations of the Airports Commission and decided in favour of expanding Heathrow. We will now support the Government and others to ensure that the third runway is built and to maximise the benefits to the North East that this development will bring.

"The North East currently enjoys good connectivity into Heathrow with up to six British Airways services a day, supporting over 500,000 passengers to and from the North East. By constructing a third runway, and providing additional capacity, we hope these services can be safeguarded, and can in the future also connect to a much wider range of global destinations."


Cllr Ian Harvey, Spelthorne Council’s Leader:

“I am delighted to hear this positive news. This is excellent news for Spelthorne. With so many of the Borough’s residents employed at the airport or in related industries, Spelthorne has been a long-standing supporter of Heathrow. Only the expansion of Heathrow can deliver the type and scale of connectivity required to support the country’s long term trading need. We will continue to work closely with Heathrow to ensure that the transport and air quality issues are appropriately addressed and that the interests of our residents and businesses are fully represented.”


Carolyn McCall, CEO, easyJet: 

"This is good news for UK consumers and businesses and will help ensure that the UK is better connected to the rest of the world. With the right charging structure and the right infrastructure for our efficient model, easyJet plans to operate from Heathrow, in addition to our existing London bases, providing new routes and lower fares to customers."


Virgin Atlantic:

“We applaud the Government for reaching a decision on this thorny issue after much analysis, scrutiny and deliberation. We support Heathrow expansion provided that it delivers for our customers.

This is an exciting, once in a generation opportunity to radically transform airline competition at the UK’s hub airport. New capacity must be allocated in a way that brings more choice, better service and lower fares for customers. We will work with Heathrow, the CAA and the Government to ensure that the final scheme is affordable, cost-efficient and that the customers of today are not overburdened by paying for runways and facilities that won’t be open until the mid-2020s.”


Mark Schwab, CEO, Star Alliance:  

“Today’s decision, that Heathrow is the government’s preferred location for a new runway, is good news for the millions of customers who opt to travel every year through Terminal 2 : the Queen`s Terminal – Star Alliance`s home in Heathrow. London Heathrow is already one of the most active hub airports for Star Alliance, served by 24 of our 28 member airlines. This decision opens up the possibility for our airlines to offer even more flights to more destinations and comfortable connections to all parts of the world.”


AGS Airports, owner of Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton Airports:

“We welcome today’s announcement that the UK Government has decided to back expansion at Heathrow. We have consistently supported the expansion of Heathrow on the basis of the onward connectivity it provides and the fact it’s the UK’s only hub airport. It plays an important role in supporting the Scottish economy, so it is imperative that an expanded Heathrow delivers further access for both Aberdeen and Glasgow airports.”


Tony Hallwood, Aviation Development Director, Leeds Bradford Airport:

“We are pleased that the Heathrow Airport third runway proposal has been identified as the preferred site. On the back of today’s announcement, we’ll continue to support Heathrow Airport in gaining cross-party support in the coming year.

“Building a third runway would hugely benefit our passengers travelling worldwide through Heathrow T5, as well as support businesses across the Leeds City Region to attract investment and reach key international markets from Yorkshire. This proposal has a positive impact for the regional economy and we look forward to hearing further details in due course.”   


Andrew Cornish, CEO, Liverpool John Lennon Airport:

"Liverpool John Lennon Airport welcomes this news and will continue to support Heathrow’s proposals ahead of a final decision due next year, so that regional airports such as Liverpool can benefit by the future opening up of access to the UK’s hub airport for improved worldwide connectivity".


Inglis Lyon, Managing Director, Highlands and Islands Airports Limited:

“We welcome the UK Government’s decision to identify Heathrow as the preferred option for airport expansion as part of the review of the UK’s airport capacity. This is the right decision for Scotland.   If business and tourism are going to continue to thrive in the Highlands, then we need access to the rest of the world - a quality connection to a hub airport like Heathrow is vital to that process.

"Clearly, there is still much to be done and we are still a long way from any new runway being completed, but this is an important step forward.  However, it is imperative that all parties involved work to maintain and enhance our current connection with Heathrow to ensure we are in the best position possible to maximise the additional benefits the new runway will bring.

“Whilst we understand there was a valid case for Gatwick to be chosen, Heathrow’s expansion will enable a second daily flight to and from Inverness Airport and also opens up the possibility of a direct flight from Dundee. The success of the recently launched BA flight between Inverness and Heathrow - one of BA’s most successful domestic routes - clearly demonstrates the considerable demand for air travel to and from the Highlands to the rest of the world.”


Matthew Hill, Director, Let Britain Fly:

“Government has made a clear decision on a new runway, which is hugely welcome. Thousands of British businesses will benefit from these connections and we now have to get on with it - every day without a new runway costs the UK £26 million in lost trade, particular with emerging markets.

“In its next steps, the government has to look at better links to all our airports and plan for a future air capacity that keeps the UK trading with the world – and it has to keep on moving swiftly.”


Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of the British Air Transport Association (BATA):

"We welcome this long overdue announcement – and agree with the Government's decision that additional capacity at Heathrow offers greater potential economic and social advantages than expansion at Gatwick. Tough discussions now have to be had by all parties – and our airline members will be closely involved in these next stages of preparatory work. The needs of passengers, cargo customers and local communities must be met.

"Our members are clear that the cost of expansion that they and their customers pay for is key and we will be scrutinising this decision and future, more detailed, plans. Heathrow is the most expensive hub airport in the world – and airports are not funded by the taxpayer, but by passengers. Therefore any new infrastructure must be cost effective. We must ensure that it is affordable and that the price paid by customers does not increase. Today's passengers must not pay for capacity that will not be operational until the mid-2020s. In short, we need the right solution at the right price, at the right time, in order to meet the needs of customers."


Martin Rolfe, CEO, NATS: 

“We welcome the Government’s clear decision on the location of a new runway and its announcement of a faster planning process to deliver it. We will be working closely with Heathrow Airport and all stakeholders to develop airspace designs that help maximise the benefits whilst maintaining safety and minimising noise and other environmental impacts. Having now made an important decision to secure the future runway capacity the country needs, we must get on with modernising airspace right across the UK to ensure we can meet the forecast growth in air traffic of 40% by 2030.

“We are delighted to see the Government’s support for airspace modernisation which will be crucial to future efficiency. Without such airspace modernisation, over the coming years the travelling public will see a major rise in delays and flight cancellations. These decisions will signal to the world that the UK is open for business, which is more important now than ever.”


Nick Baveystock, Director General, Institution of Civil Engineers:
'The Government's decision to increase UK aviation capacity is welcome. It provides a huge boost to UK Plc at a time of uncertainty. If the UK is to have a 21st Century transport network that enables balanced economic growth, thriving communities and health and wellbeing, the decision on aviation needs to address the connectivity throughout the UK plus air quality and noise issues. The benefits of such transformational projects will only be realised with this integrated approach.

'The use of an independent, evidence based review has led to this decision. This underlines the importance of the ICE's National Needs Assessment, the National Infrastructure Commission and the work it will do to provide Government with such advice and evidence. This decision also reaffirms that the UK is open for international business and serious about retaining Heathrow's status as a global hub airport.'


Glyn Roberts, CEO, NIIRTA:

“This is the right decision for Northern Ireland and the UK economy as a whole, particularly with the approach of Brexit and the need for increased global air connectivity”

“NIIRTA has long supported the need to expand Heathrow as it will secure Northern Ireland’s connection to a globally competitive hub airport enabling increased tourism which will boost spending in our local retail sector.”  


Simon Whalley, Head of External Affairs, Royal Aeronautical Society:

"The Government's green light to additional runway capacity in the south east today is a vital next step towards providing the long-overdue airport infrastructure the UK desperately needs to remain a modern, internationally-competitive economy and globally connected society.

"The prospect of Britain's withdrawal from the European Union brings into sharp focus the importance of being able to establish new trading and tourism links that will safeguard the country's future prosperity and growth potential.

"Unfortunately, this new critical national asset might not be completed until as late as 10 years after the UK has left the EU. Over a year has passed already since the Airports Commission published the final recommendations of its exhaustive study and we can expect further consultation over the next 18 months.

"The Government must not squander this precious time. Starting today, Ministers should be working hard to build political and public support that will turn decision into delivery. A means of achieving this will be a credible package of environmental and local impact mitigation measures to go hand in hand with the quieter, cleaner and more fuel efficient aircraft currently coming into service or on the drawing board. We simply cannot afford to go back to square one again.

"Ministers are also encouraged to set out their plans as soon as possible for how the Government will make best use of existing, under-used airport infrastructure around the country until a new runway is built so the UK does not lose out any further to our international rivals."


Liz Maher, President, South & Mid Wales Chamber of Commerce:

“The Government has made the right decision for the whole of the United Kingdom. For Wales, Heathrow expansion could mean up to 8,400 new jobs and up to £6.2bn in economic benefit. With both electrification and a new dedicated spur of the Great Western Line, South Wales will be even more accessible to the UK’s hub airport. For our members in South Wales, this means access to new markets across the globe - for the tourism industry and exporters alike. A major infrastructure project such as this is also welcome news for the steel industry here in South Wales and shows to the world that the UK remains open for business.”


Louise Punter, CEO, Surrey Chambers of Commerce:

“Our members are really pleased to finally get a decision on additional airport capacity but the time it takes to start construction is key!  Swift decisions will have a great impact on business confidence and will contribute to encouraging more people to take up export opportunities. There is no doubt that a third runway at Heathrow will also send a strong message to potential overseas investors that we are seriously open for business.”


Colin Stanbridge, Heathrow Chief Executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI):

"I am relieved that the decision has finally been made and firmly believe it is the right one. The constant dithering over a decision in past years has risked damaging British business but now we finally have the chance to act to future-proof the UK economy. Now we need to mitigate those delays and commence construction work as soon as practical to maximise the benefits to London and the wider UK. However, as the runway will take several years to be operational we need to make best use of existing aviation infrastructure now including strengthening rail links and improving services at London City and Stanstead airports."


Olu Odeniyi, President, Maidenhead and District Chamber of Commerce:

“Brexit has made expansion at Heathrow more urgent than ever given the need to signal to the world that the UK is very much open for business. Even before Brexit, it was vital the UK keep up with competition elsewhere for the sake of our economy and Heathrow is the only viable option. I therefore very much welcome this critical development and hope ensuing parliamentary approval occurs expeditiously”


Karen Finegold, Executive Director, Engineering Industries Association:

“The Engineering Industries Association welcomes the decision by Government to expand Heathrow as this will encourage UK SME manufacturing companies to increase their exports to both new and established markets, which will in turn, assist the UK economy to grow.”


Richard Knight, CEO, Focal Point Advertising:

"The right decision has been made for the future health of the UK economy for now and for future generations. Since Brexit, this news is exactly what the UK needs"


David Elliott, CEO, Excess Baggage Group:

“Excess Baggage Company will celebrate its 26th anniversary at Heathrow in January 2017. Throughout this time, and before, there has been a debate surrounding the provision of extra runway capacity. Hopefully, with this HM Government decision, we can now look to drive forward the local economy, together with enhanced job security and business development, and that we can look to swiftly build a much better quality transport infrastructure than currently exists. Key to this will be to have all major players working together, whether ground transport operators, airlines, Heathrow itself, or airport service companies, such as ourselves.

"On behalf of Excess Baggage Company, our Staff, Management, and Directors, we look forward to playing our part in this huge, and very necessary strategic development going forward.”