The Freight Transport Association (FTA) says the Government must back a third runway at Heathrow if the Prime Minister’s vision of a global post-Brexit Britain is to become a reality.
Writing to Theresa May’s Cabinet ahead of the anticipated announcement, FTA urged members to make a prompt decision in favour of expansion at Heathrow to allow the next phase of planning and decision making to begin.
The Association told Government that Britain needs Heathrow to maintain its position as a world-class hub for UK imports and exports, stating that air freight accounts for around 40 per cent of the UK’s imports and exports by value, and high end manufacturing industries such as pharmaceuticals, automotive manufacturing, mobile telephones and high-end retail are dependent on Heathrow.
The Airports Commission concluded that Heathrow rather than Gatwick, should expand because of economic benefits for the whole country, including £147 billion in economic growth over the next 60 years and the creation on 70,000 new jobs by 2050.
Chris Welsh, FTA Director of Global and European Policy said: “We have written to Cabinet members urging them to follow the Airports Commission’s recommendation and support a third runway at Heathrow, and have encouraged a decision be made sooner rather than later. There has been too much stalling as to where and when the extra capacity for air freight is going to be.
“The referendum vote to leave the European Union makes connectivity to new and emerging markets all the more pressing, and the argument for a third runway at Heathrow all the more compelling.”
FTA has long campaigned for expansion at Heathrow and outlined the need of increased capacity to keep goods and passengers connected to scores of global destinations and support UK trade. The Airport has the best connectivity to global markets of any in the UK, currently serving 185 destinations in 84 countries. However, despite the impressive figures, Heathrow is falling behind its competitors.
Mr Welsh continued: “Additional capacity is vital to meet growing demand for connectivity to emerging markets in Asia, the Indian sub-continent and South America. Access to these emerging markets will be even more important as we embark on a new future outside of the EU.“Heathrow is the main hub airport in the UK, and it is full, the need for a third runway is obvious. So much economic activity relies upon air freight across the UK, it is critical to economic recovery that the nation can demonstrate it is open for business with a smooth and reliable journey from our international gateways.”