Northern development relies on Heathrow expansion: Airport CEO

The Government’s ambitions to transform the North of England into a high productivity, high growth powerhouse are at risk unless the Government takes action on airport expansion, Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye has claimed. 

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye.
Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye.

In a keynote speech at the International Festival of Business, Holland-Kaye highlighted new research by Frontier Economics that claims the cost of inaction on airport capacity to the economy of the North equates to £710m in lost import/export trade every year, based on the first analysis to show that flying via a hub airport abroad, rather than via Heathrow, generates less trade for the British economy.

If Heathrow wasn’t constrained, then more passengers flying to and from the UK regions could fly via Heathrow instead of having to fly via another international hub, Holland-Kaye claimed, helping facilitate an additional £1.7bn in trade each year.

“Heathrow is the right choice for a long-term plan to back every corner of the UK,” he said. “The Government is going to struggle with the foundations of the Northern Powerhouse if a third runway isn’t built to support the region’s existing connectivity. To rebalance and strengthen the British economy, the UK needs a domestic hub airport that can compete with our unconstrained hub rivals abroad, and that’s something only Heathrow can deliver.”

Heathrow has committed £10m to a Route Development Fund, which will provide start-up support for new domestic destinations. It will enable up to five new routes to be established following Heathrow expansion, with routes from airports like Liverpool, Humberside and Doncaster/Sheffield potentially eligible.

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