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Business chiefs urge new Government to fast-track airport expansion

London First

6 min read Partner content

One hundred business leaders step-up pressure on Ministers to make a bold and early decision to build a new runway

Only a week since coming to power, the new Government was today warned in a statement signed by business leaders that if they fail to act decisively on the final recommendation of the Airports Commission, which will imminently recommend expanding Gatwick or Heathrow, they risk Britain’s global competitiveness and future growth.

The statement was issued by the pro-expansion campaign group Let Britain Fly. Signatories include a large number of business leaders from Britain’s top firms including many from the FTSE 100; alongside the heads of business organisations including the British Chambers of Commerce, IOD, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and London First.

Gavin Hayes, Director of Let Britain Fly said: “The new Government should use its fresh mandate and make a bold and early decision to build a new runway. With all of London’s airports forecast to be full by 2030, kicking the can down the road is no longer an option.

“This will be one of the first big issues that will test whether the Government is capable of making strategic decisions in the national interest.

“The Conservatives pledged in their manifesto they would ‘respond to the Airports Commission’s Final Report’, to maintain the trust and confidence of the business community it’s essential that response is both positive and timely.

“After almost three years of debating the issue in a Commission decision-day is fast approaching.”

The statement reads: “One of the most urgent infrastructure priorities for the new Government is the decision to expand airport capacity.

“Expanding our international connectivity is fundamental to ensuring Britain remains open for business and would give a much-needed boost to trade, tourism, investment and economic growth right across the country. By value forty per cent of our exports go by air; we trade up to twenty times more with countries we have a direct air link to.

“With Heathrow already full, Gatwick full by 2020 and most of London’s other airports full by 2030, the demand for expansion is self-evident.

“As people who run some of Britain’s leading businesses, it concerns us that other countries plan on building over fifty new runways between now and 2036. China alone will build seventeen. Whilst in this country we haven’t built a new full-length runway in the South East since 1945.

“Decades of inaction mean we are falling behind our competitors. Paris has 50% more flights to China. Whilst Dubai International recently overtook Heathrow as the world’s busiest airport.

“This is why when the Airports Commission publishes its Final Report, we urge the new Government to make an early decision on airport expansion and end over half a century of political procrastination.”

Signatories include the following:

Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive, Aberdeen Asset Management

Dr Eamonn Butler, Director, Adam Smith Institute

Richard Robinson, Chief Executive, Civil Infrastructure EMEA India, AECOM

David Partridge, Managing Partner, Argent LLP

Surinder Arora, Founder/CEO, Arora Holdings

George Weston, Chief Executive Officer, Associated British Foods

Heather Lishman, Association Manager, Association of British Professional Conference Organisers

Nick Roberts, Chief Executive Officer UK and Europe, Atkins

Bill Munro, Chairman, Barrhead Travel

Harold Paisner, Senior Partner, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP

Bob Rothenberg MBE, Senior Partner, Blick Rothenberg LLP

Dale Keller, Chief Executive, Board of Airline Representatives in the UK

Jim McAuslan, General Secretary, British Airline Pilots' Association

John Longworth, Director General, British Chambers of Commerce

Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive, British Hospitality Association

Chris Grigg, Chief Executive, British Land

Jeffries Briginshaw, CEO, BritishAmerican Business British American Business Council

Sir Mike Rake, Chairman, BT Group

Michael Hirst OBE, Chairman, Business Visits and Events Partnership

Hugh Seaborn, Chief Executive, Cadogan

John Syvret, Chief Executive Officer, Cammell Laird Group

Sir George Iacobescu CBE, Chairman and Chief Executive, Canary Wharf Group

Richard Howson, Chief Executive, Carillion

Stephen Hubbard, Chairman - UK EMEA, CBRE

Tim Knox, Director, Centre for Policy Studies

James Rowntree, Managing Director, Transportation, CH2M HILL

Stephen Phillips, Chief Executive, China-Britain Business Council

Iain Anderson, Co-Founder and 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

Des Gunewardena, Chairman CEO, D D London

Angus Knowles-Cutler, London Senior Partner, Deloitte

John Burns, Chief Executive, Derwent London

Rick Butterworth, Managing Director, Diamond Recruitment Group

Mathew Riley, Managing Director, Infrastructure Environment, EC Harris

Chris Rumfitt, Chief Executive, Corporate Reputation Consulting

Inderneel Singh, Group Corporate Development Manager, Edwardian Group London

Olaf Swantee, Managing Director, EE

Terry Scuoler, CEO, EEF

Kevin Murphy, Chairman, ExCeL London

David Wells, Chief Executive, Freight Transport Association

Sue Brown, Senior Managing Director, FTI Consulting

Jeremy Taylor, Chief Executive, Gatwick Diamond Business

David Cliff, Managing Director, Gedanken

Hugh Bullock, Senior Partner, Gerald Eve LLP

Mike Turner CBE, Chairman, GKN PLC Babcock International Group

Gordon Clark, Country Manager, Global Blue

Andrew Cunningham, Chief Executive, Grainger

Toby Courtauld, Chief Executive, Great Portland Estates

Mark Preston, Chairman and Non-Executive Director, Grosvenor

Paul Wait, Chairman, Guild of Travel Management Companies

Rob Bould, Chief Executive, GVA

Michael Ward, Managing Director, Harrods

Brian L Dunsby, Chief Executive, Harrogate Chamber of Trade Commerce

Mr Andrew Formica, Chief Executive, Henderson Group

Nicholas Cheffings, Chair, Hogan Lovells

Nicola Shaw, Chief Executive Officer, HS1 Limited

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

Andrew Murphy, Retail Director, John Lewis Partnership

George Kessler CBE, Group Deputy Chairman, Kesslers International

Simon Collins, UK Chairman Senior Partner, KPMG

Robert Noel, Chief Executive, Land Securities Group

John Stewart, Chairman, Legal General Group

Gavin Hayes, Director, Let Britain Fly

Jenny Stewart, Chief Executive, Liverpool Chamber of Commerce

Robert Hough, Chair, Liverpool City Region LEP

Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive, London Chamber of Commerce

Jo Valentine, CEO, London First

John Allan CBE, Chairman, London First

Mark Reynolds, Chief Executive, Mace Group

Yoshiki Yamada, Director, CHRO CCO, Mitsui Co. Europe Plc

Richard Dickinson, Chief Executive, New West End Company

James Rook, Managing Director, Nimlok

James Ramsbotham, Chief Executive, North East Chamber of Commerce

Ann McGregor MBE, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Adrian Shooter CBE, Chairman, Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership

Jonathan Fletcher, Director, PG Legal

Richard Foley, Senior Partner, Pinsent Masons

Mark Bensted OBE, Managing Director, Powerday

John Rhodes, Director, Quod

Mr Mark Lancaster, Chairman, SDL

David Sleath, Chief Executive, SEGRO

Paul Kelly, Managing Director, Selfridges Group

Juergen Maier, Chief Executive, Siemens

David McAlpine, Partner, Sir Robert McAlpine

Sue Rimmer OBE, Principal and Chief Executive, South Thames College

Willie Stewart, Director, Stewart Travel

John Sutcliffe, Managing Director, Sutcliffe

Tim Hancock, Managing Director, Terence O'Rourke

Victor Chavez, Chief Executive Officer, Thales UK

Rebecca Kane, General Manager, The O2

Bill Moore, Chief Executive, The Portman Estate

Ric Lewis, Chief Executive, Tristan Capital Partners

Vincent Clancy, Chief Executive Officer, Turner Townsend

Professor Michael Arthur, President and Provost, UCL

Basil Scarsella, Chief Executive Officer, UK Power Networks

Frank Wingate, Chief Executive, West London Business

Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive Officer, WPP

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