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NEWS Last modified on June 30, 2016

London airports slam government's decision to postpone new runway decision

Heathrow has responded to reports that the UK government will delay making a decision on airport expansion until after a new Conservative Party leader is elected as sending the wrong message to the world after the Brexit vote.

It claims that expansion at Heathrow is the "strongest possible signal that Britain is open for business”.

"Only Heathrow expansion will allow British exporters to trade with all the growing markets of the world, strengthening Britain’s position as one of the world’s great trading nations
," says a statement.

"In uncertain economic times, a £16bn privately funded infrastructure investment will create up to 180,000 jobs and £211bn of growth across the UK
. By approving Heathrow expansion, the government will send the strongest signal possible that Britain is open for business and confident in its future
."

Recent polls show that two thirds of MPs think greenlighting Heathrow expansion will strengthen Britain’s economy
.

Heathrow's chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, claims that a third runway must be a part of the government’s Brexit plan.

Heathrow
“If Britain wants to be confident, outward-looking and at the centre of the world’s economy then expanding Heathrow must be a key building block in the Government’s Brexit plan," he argues.


“It will allow British exporters to trade with all the growing markets of the world, strengthening Britain’s position as one of the great trading nations. And at a time of uncertainty a £16bn privately funded infrastructure investment will create jobs and growth across the UK.

“Government can send the strongest possible signal that Britain is open for business and confident in its future by expanding Heathrow.”

The government had promised to make a decision on whether Heathrow or Gatwick will get a new runway this summer, but the delay now makes it unlikley that an announcement will be made this year.
GAT low
The decision was met with equal dismay at Gatwick, which claims that now is the time to be agile and decisive and choose Gatwick to help the country pick itself up from all the negative publicity that has followed the Brexit referendum.

Responding to the announcement from the Transport Secretary that a decision on airport expansion has been delayed, Stewart Wingate, Gatwick CEO, said: “The need for Britain to expand aviation capacity has never been greater. At an uncertain time Britain needs to show it can be agile and decisive. We must move on and show the world that we are open for business. 

"Gatwick is already the most connected airport in the UK, offering Britain connections to all five continents, to developed and emerging markets alike. It is now clear that only Gatwick can deliver the expansion we need and do so by 2025.  

"We can help improve our international competitive position by offering the fastest possible improvement to our trading links at a time when it is most necessary. 
Gatwicktower
"There is nothing in our way. The time for debate is now over and the time has come for Britain to get on with it. We can privately finance the project. We can offer a fair deal for those most impacted and we can support growth across all regions of the country. We can deliver the runway that Britain needs.

“It's time to expand Gatwick.”

• AOA chief executive, Darren Caplan, comments: “The AOA is deeply disappointed that a year on from the Airports Commission’s Final Report, the government has announced a further delay to its response to the Commission, until at least October.

"This is despite the government’s firm commitment to decide by the end of 2015, which was then delayed until this summer. This additional delay comes at a time when all are agreed that clear action is needed to demonstrate the UK is open for business and confident about its future.

“At this time of increased uncertainty, the government should be putting its foot on the accelerator of the UK economy – not delaying making important infrastructure decisions that can help it succeed. We continue to urge the government to make a decision on airport capacity as soon as possible." 

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