Friday 26 May 2017
Heathrow will be absolutely key to post-Brexit Britain's competitiveness
The planned expansion of Heathrow Airport should go ahead to ensure Britain can compete and succeed after Brexit, the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has said.
Responding to the Government's consultation on runway capacity in the South East of England, LCCI also said it was vital that there was no "capacity gap" in the period between now and the mid 2020's when Heathrow's new runway will be operational.
That would mean ministers acting to put in place short-term measures to boost capacity for the next decade, including making the best use of existing airfield, airspace and terminals.
Chief Executive of LCCI, Colin Stanbridge said: "It has taken a long time to secure permission for a new runway at Heathrow - but construction should begin as soon as practical.
"Brexit has greatly increased the need for additional airport capacity - as a new runway will not be open till perhaps 2025, Ministers need to be creative in utilizing existing infrastructure.
"If the capital does not have capacity to accept flights from key markets then UK competitiveness will be weakened - potentially lost to other European cities".
Separately, LCCI also warned that Government should be wary of unintended consequences when considering airport operating hours and 'Night flights' - LCCI pointed out that "Early Morning Arrivals" bring benefits to the whole UK economy.
This means that flights taking off on the other side of the worlds and in different time zones must arrive at UK airports early to meet demand for convenient departure and transfer time and to ensure business passengers reach their final location in time to begin a working day, which in London, as the London Underground shows, begins at around 5.30am.
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NOTES TO EDITOR:
1. LCCI is the capital's most representative business organisation, with members ranging in size from multi-national companies to SMEs and sole traders.
2. Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive, is available for further comment and interview.