To expand just one airport is short-termist madness, says LCCI

Tuesday 3rd February 2015


To expand just one airport is short-termist madness, says LCCI

The government must not miss an opportunity to provide for the UK's aviation needs for the next 50 years, London's biggest and most representative business group has said today.

As the Airports Commission consultation on preferred options closes, the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has called on the next government to consider expanding both airports in a staggered approach, saying that not to do so would mean missing out on economic opportunities for Britain.

To approve just one runway would be short-termist, whereas, committing to expand both Heathrow and Gatwick, with Heathrow first, would future-proof the UK economy and prevent another long commission process.

London businesses are overwhelmingly in favour of airport expansion. In a survey of 500 of the capital's business leaders conducted for LCCI by pollsters ComRes, 54% of businesses said that Heathrow should be expanded, with 30% opting for Gatwick.

LCCI is also calling for short term measures to boost capacity until a new runway is operational - likely in the mid-2020s. Options advocated by the Chamber include:

  • More early morning arrivals at Heathrow, which could be enacted by Ministers at the stroke of a pen
  • Improved rail links to Gatwick and Stansted
  • Supporting the growth of London City Airport

Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: "UK businesses need regular access to high-growth and emerging markets to continue to grow internationally.

"To consider expanding just one airport at the conclusion of this lengthy process is woefully short-termist and ignoring a major opportunity to future-proof the UK's economy. Throughout the process, we have maintained that both of the UK's key airports should be expanded. After decades of bureaucracy, red tape and political posturing, to boost capacity at just one would be madness.

"There is an opportunity here to be taken by those bold enough to grasp it. Sir Howard - and the new Government he will report to this summer - should take the plunge and grow both airports."


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  1. London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is the capital's largest and most representative business organisation, with members ranging in size from multi-national companies to SMEs and sole traders.
  2. Colin Stanbridge is available for further comment and interview.
  3. Polling of businesses on airport expansion options: ComRes interviewed 506 London business decision makers between between 19th May and 11th June 2014. Data were weighted to be representative of all London businesses by company size and broad industry sector. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Data tables are available on the ComRes website,