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UK is being ‘left behind’ in the global race for airport expansion - KPMG

KPMG LLP | London First

2 min read Partner content

World airports are set to make an extra 1bn journeys by 2036, a new study has found.

Analysis of international airport expansion by accounting firm KPMGsuggests that under current plans the next twenty years will see a significant increase in global capacity.

The report, which was commissioned by the campaign group Let Britain Fly, identified emerging economies as the most ambitious in terms of improving aviation infrastructure, raising concerns that the UK is being left behind.

Comparing plans for new runways and projected passenger numbers, the study found that Asian countries in particular will dramatically improve their capacity over the next 20 years.

By 2036 China expects to have 17 additional runways, catering for 400m passengers.

While the World Central Airport project in Dubai will provide more passenger capacity than all of London’s airports combined.

Director of the Let Britain Fly campaign, Gavin Hayes, said the findings highlighted “the need for additional runway capacity in the South East if Britain is to remain a serious contender on the world stage.”

The UK has not built a new full-length runway in the South East since the Second World War, and under current projections all of London’s main airports will be full by 2030.

Given the increasing demand for global air travel, Mr Hayes has demanded “political action is taken to ensure we do not fall behind our international rivals.

“The rest of the world isn’t going to wait patiently for us to catch up.”

Echoing his concerns, Global Head of Aviation at KPMG, James Stamp, warned that any further delays to UK airport expansion would make London “less connected, and less competitive”.

“The report shows that the debate about new runways in the UK is not just about where to lay 3000 metres of concrete, it is a debate that is fundamentally rooted in how we secure our future economic prosperity.

“The emerging markets matter because within about a decade over half the growth in the world will come from these economies.

“The report highlights that we need to make sure we are connected to that future growth, however, as things stand, Paris, for example, has 50% more flights to China than London,” he said.

The Airports Commission is set make recommendations to the Government on how the UK can meet additional demand in the future and Let Britain Fly is urging ministers to take them on board in order to ensure that London remains a global aviation hub.

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