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Britain’s business leaders call for 'quick decision on airports expansion'

London First

4 min read Partner content

Sixty bosses from top UK companies are calling on political parties to offer manifesto commitments promising "a quick decision on airports expansion".

The business chiefs, including many from FTSE 100 companies, have made the appeal in a statement today, as the Airports Commission’s consultation on three options for increasing aviation capacity comes to an end.

The move was coordinated by pro-expansion group Let Britain Fly.

Director of Let Britain Fly, Gavin Hayes said: “On modernising our airports infrastructure the voice of business is clear, we want UK political leaders to commit in their manifestos to a quick decision on airports expansion, such a pledge will be critical to parties seeking to win the trust and confidence of the business community at the forthcoming election.”  

The statement reads: “This week the Airports Commission’s public consultation on the three short-listed options for airports expansion came to an end after a highly contested debate.

“We support the Commission in reflecting on its findings and coming up with the right evidence-based solution. However we are concerned that unless politicians act swiftly on airports expansion, the growing cost of deferring a strategy to deliver new runways, which is costing our economy billions in trade and investment, will only increase.

“This debate isn’t just about where we lay three thousand metres of concrete for a runway, it’s about how we secure our future economic prosperity. The fact is the UK trades twenty times more with countries with which we have a direct air link and forty per cent of our exports by value go by air.

“The need for additional runway capacity could not be more evident. Heathrow has been full for a decade, Gatwick will be full by 2020 and all of London’s main airports will be at near full capacity by the end of the 2020s without new runways.

“Meanwhile our global competitors are racing ahead. By 2036 the world’s major cities are likely to have built over fifty new runways, providing an additional one billion passenger journeys a year. China alone will have built seventeen new runways, whilst the new Dubai World Central airport will provide more capacity than all of London’s airports combined.

“Only last month Dubai International overtook Heathrow as the world’s busiest airport, evidence that Britain is already becoming progressively less competitive as a global aviation hub. Indeed, as any good business person knows, those who stand still get left behind.

“This is why we believe that ahead of the General Election, political parties should publicly commit in their manifestos to ‘a quick decision on airports expansion guided by the Commission’s final recommendations’. When it comes to airports expansion it’s time for less political conversation and more political action.”

The full list of signatories includes:
Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive, Aberdeen Asset Management
Nick Roberts, Chief Executive Officer, Atkins
Surinder Arora, CEO, Arora Holdings
George Weston, Chief Executive Officer, Associated British Foods
Heather Lishman, Association Manager, ABPCO
Dale Keller, Chief Executive, BARUK
Harold Paisner, Senior Partner, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP
Bob Rothenberg MBE, Blick Rothenberg LLP
Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive, British Hospitality Association
Richard Fursland CBE, CEO, BritishAmerican Business
Chris Grigg, Chief Executive, British Land
Michael Hirst OBE, Chairman, Business Visits and Events Partnership
Hugh Seaborn, Chief Executive, Cadogan
Stephen Catlin, Chairman, Catlin Group
Sir George Iacobescu CBE, Chairman, Canary Wharf Group
Iain Anderson, Chief Corporate Counsel, Cicero Group
Mark Boleat, Chairman of Policy and Resources Committee, City of London Corporation
Professor Paul Curran, Vice-Chancellor, City University London
John Burns, Chief Executive, Derwent London
Kevin Murphy, Chairman, ExCeL London
Mike Cherry, National Policy Chairman, FSB
Theo de Pencier, Chief Executive, Freight Transport Association
Sue Brown, Senior Managing Director, FTI Consulting
Hugh Bullock, Senior Partner, Gerald Eve LLP
Mike Turner CBE, Chairman, Babcock International Group
Gordon Clark, Country Manager, Global Blue
Toby Courtauld, Chief Executive, Great Portland Estates
Mark Preston, Chairman, Grosvenor
Michael Ward, Managing Director, Harrods
Nicola Shaw, Chief Executive Officer, HS1
Michael Spencer, CEO, ICAP
John Lehal, Managing Director, Insight Public Affairs
Simon Walker, Director General, Institute of Directors
Richard Solomans, Chief Executive, InterContinental Hotels Group
George Kessler CBE, Group Deputy Chairman, Kesslers International
Andrew Murphy, Retail Director, John Lewis
John Stewart, Chairman, Legal and General Group
Robert Elliott, Chairman, Linklaters
Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive, London First
Sir Winfried Bischoff
Mark Reynolds, Chief Executive, Mace
James Fennell, Managing Director, Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners
Richard Dickinson, Chief Executive, New West End Company
James Rook, Managing Director, Nimlok
Adrian Shooter CBE, Chairman, Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership
Glen Moreno, Chairman, Pearson
Mark Bensted OBE, Managing Director, Powerday
John Rhodes OBE, Director, Quod
Mark Lancaster, Chairman, SDL
David Sleath, Chief Executive Officer, SEGRO
Paul Kelly, Chief Executive, Selfridges
Sue Rimmer OBE, Chief Executive, South Thames College
Tim Hancock, Managing Director, Terence O’Rourke
Victor Chavez, Chief Executive Officer, Thales UK
Rebecca Kane, General Manager, The O2
Bill Moore CBE, Chief Executive Officer, The Portman Estate
Ric Lewis, Chief Executive, Tristan Capital Partners
Vincent Clancy, Chief Executive Officer, Turner & Townsend
Professor Michael Arthur, President and Provost, UCL
Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive, WPP

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