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Regional airports back Heathrow expansion

Heathrow | Heathrow

3 min read Partner content

Many of UK airports have expressed their support for the expansion of Heathrow.

Glasgow, Aberdeen, Liverpool, Leeds-Bradford and Newcastle have all recognised increased capacity at the country’s only hub airport will deliver benefits for the whole of the UK.

Improving connectivity, boosting economic growth and job creation were cited as the most compelling reasons for the endorsement.

The expansion would connect both Scotland and England’s regions to emerging markets such as China, Brazil and India.  

It would also boost tourism across the country, bringing much needed employment and investment.   

Initial projections suggest that the development would deliver up to 180,000 new jobs; with close to 80,000 outside London and the South East.   

Liverpool’s John Lennon airport has suggested that they would gain most from Heathrow’s expansion as their “need is perhaps the greatest since it does not currently have a service to either a UK or European hub airport and last saw a service to Heathrow in 1992.

“Regional airports including Liverpool need to access global connectivity to better meet the needs of the regions they serve.”

The business community would also benefit, according to Leeds-Bradford airport’s commercial director, Tony Hallwood.

"We need to grow the frequency. This would give business passengers a proper opportunity for a longer business day in London and also offers access to a wider range of connections," he said.

The prospective benefits have also prompted Glasgow Chamber of Commerce to come out in favour, with the Chief Executive Stuart Patrick saying: “The question for us is to what extent either will allow us to maintain the range and depth of international connections that follow on from domestic flights.

“Gatwick hasn’t really convinced us of how their model would work.”

In a letter to Sir Howard Davies, the chair of the Government’s independent commission on airport expansion, the airports made the case for Heathrow.

They wrote: “The so-called London Airports debate is not about London at all. It is about the aviation industry as a whole – an industry that employs 960,000 people – boosting growth across the UK and contributing £52bn to the UK economy. Airports are an integral part of local economies; our growth generates growth in our regions…

“For expansion to benefit the whole country there must be a mechanism in place to strengthen and secure domestic connections to the UK’s hub. We will be backing Heathrow expansion in the Airports Commission consultation as the right choice for the whole of the UK.”  

The Airports Commission is currently considering the options for increasing aviation capacity in the UK and will makes its recommendations to the Government later this year.

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