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NEWS Last modified on September 5, 2016

CEO outlines why he believes the government will back Heathrow expansion

Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye, today delivered a speech to the Westminster Policy Forum setting out how a third runway would help deliver a stronger, fairer Britain.

He also claimed that the airport is working to deliver the benefits of expansion more quickly, and at lower cost.

“I think it is finally coming to a point where the government will make a decision to back Heathrow expansion and we can get Britain moving,” predicted Holland-Kaye.

“What has changed? Firstly, the Airport Commission’s independent report. It unanimously and unequivocally backed Heathrow as the right choice. The strongest option, and the fairest option, for all of Britain. 

“Secondly, the Brexit vote. Leaving the EU means that it’s more essential than ever that we create trading links to the growing markets of the world – and that we control our own trade routes.

“Only Heathrow expansion can do this. And it’s an urgent task, if we are to have a strong and fair post-Brexit economy.
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“And finally, we now have a Prime Minister who has remained open minded on how to deliver more airport capacity, and makes decisions based on the facts.

“But she does have a clear political vision, to create a country where prosperity and opportunity is more evenly shared. A fairer and stronger Britain, which Heathrow expansion will help her to deliver.  

Airports Commission

He went on: “To many people, an airport is just a few miles of tarmac, some terminal buildings and lots of planes. What Sir Howard Davies’ Airports Commission achieved was to show that Heathrow was very different from other UK airports. 

“As a hub, we pool demand from across the whole of the UK and Europe. As such, we can support regular, year round flights to long haul emerging markets that just cannot be supported from point to point airports. 

“We can do this because of cargo, and because of transfer passengers. They fill up planes even at quieter times of the year to make regular flights to long haul destinations viable. 

“And pooling demand at a hub will always be the most efficient way of connecting people and things. You may hear people say that disruptive new technology makes a hub irrelevant. Not so! Hubs around the world are growing – and not just in aviation.

“The great technology disrupters – Google, Amazon, even the cloud – all use the hub and spoke model to be efficient. That same model means Heathrow can support regular flights to 83 long haul destinations. More than almost any other airport in the world. 

“And that maintains Britain’s place as a strong, outward looking trading nation. 

But we don’t just carry people. The same planes that carry Britain’s exporters around the world also carry their exports – in fact almost 30% of all non-EU exports go by air from Heathrow. 
heathrow pax
“Anything high value, with a short supply chain or a short shelf life goes by air from Heathrow. Heathrow provides Britain’s trade routes to growth markets, and helps us to be an independent and strong trading nation.

“But we have been at capacity for a decade. And that lack of capacity increasingly means that British exporters have to go through a foreign hubs to get to world markets, which adds time and cost – putting them at a competitive disadvantage and handing control of Britain’s supply routes to our competitors. 

“If we want Britain to remain strong, then we need to sustain and grow our own links to those burgeoning economies.”

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Joe Bates

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