Press Release — Announcement of runway capacity decision


Tuesday 25 October 2016

Heathrow has a unique and compelling market position in the UK. With its announcement in favour of a new runway at Heathrow, the Air League urges the government to set out an expedited timetable to deliver such expansion, whilst ensuring all environmental and noise measures are met. The Air League regrets any further delay to the availability of vital runway capacity and securing the UK economy and its role as a leading global aviation hub. The Airports Commission analysis found Heathrow Expansion will create up to 180,000 jobs and up to £211 billion in economic benefits across the UK by 2050. Up to £114 billion of economic benefits from Heathrow expansion would benefits regions across the entire UK outside of London and the South East.

Heathrow's proposed North-West Runway. © Heathrow Airport Ltd.
Heathrow’s proposed North-West Runway. © Heathrow Airport Ltd.

With the decision now made reversing the loss connectivity to and from regions of the UK to international markets is a priority. Currently 33% of all UK long-haul exports (by value) travel through Heathrow; it is the UK’s largest port by value, greater than Southampton and Felixstowe combined. In 2014, Heathrow handled freight to the value of £130 billion, with a further investment of £180m to double its cargo facility by 2025, facilitating British exporter’s access to key global and emerging markets.

Heathrow provides a fully integrated public transport hub benefiting the entire country. It is already the UK’s best connected airport, with further improvements imminent with Crossrail revolutionising travel to central London, the City and Canary Wharf. By 2024, Western Rail access will see direct trains between Heathrow, the South West and Wales with further opportunity to secure Southern Rail access and direct connection to HS2. Combined these schemes would enable Heathrow to treble its rail capacity by 2040 with links to London Waterloo, the South, Midlands and North.

Heathrow’s strongest case is that it is a key facilitator for trade, a point which becomes even more important in a post-Brexit world and clearly answers the Airports Commission’s question of maintaining the UK’s global aviation hub. The decision is not the end of the process, it is the start of one. The Government must be clear and confident in ensuring not only the consent needed to build a new runway and its associated infrastructure and surface access is granted promptly, whilst minimising environmental and noise impact, but also look at securing interim runway capacity options to facilitate renewed UK regional links until Heathrow Runway 3 is available. The Air League urges the Government to implement the decision on airport expansion without further delay, and congratulates Mrs May on leading the way for UK business by showing the UK is open and ready for expansion.


For press enquiries contact:

Andrew Brookes

Chief Executive

The Air League

T: (020) 7222-8463




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