Business welcomes Heathrow expansion approval

By Daniel Thomas
Business reporter

image copyrightLEON NEAL
image captionPaul Drechsler CBE, president of the Confederation of British Industry, called the decision "fantastic news"

Business chiefs have largely welcomed the government's decision to approve the building of a third runway at Heathrow, arguing it will boost jobs and growth.

But some have raised concerns about the decision and its execution.

Here, we round up some of the reaction from the business community.

President of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). Paul Drechsler

"A new runway at Heathrow is really fantastic news, especially as the country has waited nearly 50 years for this decision. It will create the air links that will do so much to drive jobs and unlock growth across the UK, allowing even more of our innovative, ambitious and internationally focused firms, from Bristol to Belfast, to take off and break into new markets.

"With contracts to tender for, apprentices to recruit and supply chains to build, this decision must be taken forward swiftly, giving businesses the confidence to invest.

"Our aviation capacity is set to run out as early as 2025, so it's crucial we get spades in the ground as soon as possible to reap the benefits for jobs and growth, precisely when the country needs them most."

image copyrightAndrew Burton
image captionChief executive of Ryanair, Michael O'Leary wants three runways built

Chief executive of Ryanair, Michael O'Leary

"Approving a third runway at Heathrow over Gatwick is not the way forward. London now benefits from three competing airports, and three large competing airlines (British Airways, Easyjet and Ryanair) and the best way to deliver additional runways in a timely and cost-efficient manner is to approve three additional runways, one each at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

"The threat of additional runways at competitor airports will force Heathrow to keep its costs down while developing a third runway in the most timely and efficient manner."

Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses

"Today's decision on airport capacity is a welcome boost for British business, which could deliver up to £211bn of extra economic growth, 180,000 jobs and double the apprenticeships at Heathrow to a total of 10,000. We now need to see budgets committed and shovels in the ground as soon as possible.

"When the runway is built, FSB members will want to see promises for increased regional connectivity delivered, in addition to new routes to overseas destinations - boosting freight exports and connecting our world-beating businesses to new markets."

image copyrightJOHN THYS
image captionWillie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group, said new capacity "had to be affordable"

Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group

"We're pleased that a decision has finally been made, but the cost of this project will make or break it. The government's directive to cap customer charges at today's level is fundamental.

"Heathrow is the world's most expensive hub airport, so it's critical that new capacity is affordable. The airport has consistently argued that the British economy will benefit if the third runway is approved.

"Heathrow want it, argued for it and now must ensure it's the UK and the travelling public who get the benefits from the runway, not the airport's owners."

Miles Celic, chief executive of TheCityUK, which lobbies for the financial services industry

"Today the government made the right decision, one which will boost the UK's international competitiveness and help support the UK's position as the world financial centre.

"However, the path ahead remains a long one, with plenty of room for disruption. This decision has been decades in the making - it must not be decades in the execution.

"We hope ministers will stand firm and support a smooth planning process without any further deferrals or delays."

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionStewart Wingate, chief executive of Gatwick, said his airport "stands ready to proceed"

Chief executive of Gatwick, Stewart Wingate

"We are disappointed as we do not believe this is the right answer for Britain. Gatwick has put forward a credible financeable and deliverable plan for expansion. It is a plan that can guarantee growth and guarantee certainty for Britain.

"We look forward to studying the full reasons behind the government decision in detail. The challenges facing Heathrow have not changed. Our message today is that Gatwick stands ready to proceed when the time comes."

Chief executive of aerospace trade body ADS Group, Paul Everitt

"As demand for air travel increases, UK airlines are expected to invest around £60bn in new aircraft over the next 20 years.

"For UK aerospace companies, this represents major opportunities for growth and a sustained economic return for the nation's finances.

"Mitigating the environmental impacts of increased aviation has been an overriding priority throughout the debate. The UK's aerospace industry leads the world in developing innovative technology that makes aircraft more fuel-efficient, less polluting and quieter."

Director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, Adam Marshall

"Put simply, it's about time. Successive governments have prevaricated for far too long in the face of a blindingly obvious need for more runway capacity.

"Businesses will now want assurances that the final approval process for Heathrow's new runway will be smooth and swift, so that construction can begin as soon as possible."

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