Responding to the announcement that a decision on Heathrow expansion will be handed to the Prime Minister’s successor, John Holland-Kaye, the airport’s Chief Executive, said that a third runway must be a part of the Government’s Brexit plan.
Mr Holland-Kaye said:
“If Britain wants to be confident, outward-looking and at the centre of the world’s economy then expanding Heathrow must be a key building block in the Government’s Brexit plan.
“It will allow British exporters to trade with all the growing markets of the world, strengthening Britain’s position as one of the great trading nations. And at a time of uncertainty a £16bn privately funded infrastructure investment will create jobs and growth across the UK.
“Government can send the strongest possible signal that Britain is open for business and confident in its future by expanding Heathrow.”
Heathrow received a “unanimous and unambiguous” recommendation for expansion from the independent Airports Commission in 2015 following a two-and-a-half year, £20m study. It said the airport had by far the greatest economic benefits and that they would be spread across all of the UK.
The Commission also set out conditions to expansion including restrictions on night flights, controls on air pollution and noise. Heathrow accepted and, in most cases, exceeded those conditions in June.
Expansion of Heathrow is backed by business, trade unions, politicians and airlines as the best solution to Britain’s aviation capacity crunch. Supporters include the CBI, FSB, chambers of commerce across the country, Unite, the GMB, 37 British airports and airlines such as easyJet, which plans to operate from an expanded Heathrow. A large proportion of the local community also backs Heathrow.
Recent polling by ComRes shows that two thirds of MPs think greenlighting Heathrow expansion will strengthen Britain’s economy. MPs also ranked Heathrow expansion as the top infrastructure project for spreading growth across Britain – ahead of projects like HS2, HS3 and notably with Gatwick expansion last (Heathrow 41% vs Gatwick 3%).