Heathrow press releases

07 March, 2017

Calling Britain’s SMEs: Heathrow launches UK supply chain tour to boost British business

Heathrow Expansion CGI


  • Heathrow launches new tour to boost SMEs in the supply chain of the UK’s hub airport and to help it deliver its expansion plans
  • The Business Summits will give SMEs insider access to Heathrow’s major suppliers to help them win new contracts at Heathrow both today and over the expansion project
  • Heathrow unveils new Heathrow Expansion Procurement Approach outlining how the airport will work with supply chain and business partners to deliver the UK’s largest privately funded infrastructure project.


With the planning for Heathrow expansion already underway, Heathrow is lining up SMEs from across the UK to help deliver the multi-billion-pound project.

Heathrow has announced that it will host six Business Summits across the UK to encourage more British SMEs to take part in contributing to the performance of the UK’s hub airport today and in an expanded Heathrow of the future. 

Announcing the full programme of Business Summits, Heathrow emphasised its commitment to creating jobs in every corner of the UK. Last week, Heathrow launched a new sustainability strategy, Heathrow 2.0, which committed to establishing Heathrow Business Summits in all 12 regions of the UK by 2025.

SMEs already play a crucial role in Heathrow’s supply chain – with the airport spending over £1.5 billion annually with more than 1,200 suppliers from around the UK – and their role is set to grow with the expansion. Construction of the new runway will become the UK’s largest infrastructure project and SMEs will be critical to delivering the £16 billion investment.

The Business Summits will be series of ‘speed-dating’ sessions which will give businesses from Cornwall to Scotland access to Heathrow’s largest suppliers. The face-to-face meetings are designed to give SMEs a chance to cement relationships and forge new connections with some of the UK’s largest suppliers which could also be leveraged for further work outside of Heathrow’s expansion project.


Heathrow Expansion Programme Director Phil Wilbraham said:

“As the UK’s hub airport, Heathrow has a vital role to play in helping the best of Britain’s SMEs grow and thrive – that’s why I’m delighted to announce that this year we’ll be taking our successful Business Summit on the road to six areas across Britain, giving British SMEs a unique chance to meet face-to-face with our biggest suppliers.

“We already spend over £1.5 billion through our supply chain each year and the multi-billion-pound project to expand Heathrow is set to create thousands more opportunities for UK businesses to get involved in helping connect Britain to the world.

“We’re keen to sustain a diverse supply chain and embrace innovation to help achieve new standards of delivery which includes our commitment to Heathrow 2.0. We will work with the supply chain for innovative and affordable solutions.”


Alongside the full programme of Summits, Heathrow unveiled the Heathrow Expansion Procurement Approach. It describes how the project will engage with the supply chain and business partners to provide Britain with a world class, next generation airport.

Heathrow’s ambition, as set out in the Approach, is to invest in advance to develop the leading construction skills needed for expansion.  In order to ensure that Britain benefits, Heathrow has made five pledges including doubling the number of apprenticeships to 10,000 and extending programmes to champion employability skills training in schools.

The Heathrow Expansion Procurement Approach will help to spread the benefits and the legacy of this national piece of infrastructure across the country.




Notes to Editors:

Heathrow is the UK’s hub airport, home to more than 80 airlines connecting to more than 180 destinations. Every year Heathrow welcomes over 75 million passengers with a commitment to ‘making every journey better’. Following an investment of more than £11 billion over the past 10 years, passengers have voted Heathrow the ‘Best Airport in Western Europe’ two years in a row, ‘Best Airport Terminal’ for the Terminal 5 five years in a row and ‘Best Airport for Shopping’ seven years in a row.

The new Heathrow Expansion Procurement Approach is available in full here.  

The full 2017 Business Summit programme. We will work with local Chambers of Commerce, the EEF Manufacturer’s Association, the Federation of Small Businesses and Institute of Directors to make these events a success. The schedule is available below:



In partnership with:

Business Summit South West

Friday 12th May

Devon Chamber

Business Summit North West

Thursday 15th June

Liverpool & Sefton Chamber

Business Summit Wales

Wednesday 5th July

Welsh Government

Business Summit North East

Friday 8th September

North East Chamber

Business Summit Scotland

Wednesday 18th October

Scottish Chambers

Business Summit Midlands

Thursday 23rd November

East Midlands Chamber