Tue 13th Mar 2018
March 2018: Expansion at Heathrow makes business sense
Most business men and women will have travelled through London’s Heathrow Airport at some stage during their career.
It buzzes with activity around passengers and planes and is one of the busiest airports in the world.
And it plans to get busier with the building of a third runway at a cost of £14.3bn amid predictions that London’s airports will reach full capacity in the next 20 years.
Heathrow is at 98 per cent capacity and Gatwick is expected to run out of space in a few years, which means that London will struggle to keep up with other European airports.
A 10-week public planning consultation, which started on Jan 17 and runs until March 28, is allowing the public to put forward their views on various factors of the expansion scheme.
These include the design of terminals, how best to mitigate the environmental impacts of the airport and also key aspects such as whether to bridge over or tunnel under the M25. It will also look at whether flights should be concentrated over a single area or spread out over several.
The Government has committed to holding a vote in the first half of this year on the National Policy Statement for the Heathrow expansion. A formal planning application is expected to be submitted in 2020, with the third runway opening in late 2025 or 2026.
It’s against this background that the British Chambers of Commerce in association with Heathrow Airport has organised a national programme of events which will give attendees the opportunity to discuss the benefits of expansion to their region and will look at the how these benefits will generate economic growth across all areas of the UK by creating jobs, improving domestic connectivity and ensuring Britain is open for trade post-Brexit.
Here, the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry will host an invite only event later this week at which the airport’s executives will detail the opportunities for local businesses to win contracts related to the expansion.
Any big infrastructure project which creates thousands of new jobs, supports businesses and offers new facilities will provide economic stimulus. Add the construction of new transport links and the numbers get bigger.
We are delighted to have this opportunity to showcase all types of stellar businesses in Northern Ireland who could make a valuable contribution to the expansion at Heathrow and win significant contracts.
The expanded airport will also benefit globally focused big businesses and that’s good for Northern Ireland which has direct flights between Belfast City Airport and Heathrow. Despite technology advances, businesses leaders still point to the importance of face to face relationships and being able to travel to meet new clients.
Without increasing airport capacity, the UK will lose out on business competitiveness and tourism and that will have a knock-on effect for Northern Ireland with many people transiting through Heathrow en route to the region. Expansion at Heathrow makes business sense.