Ahead of the parliamentary vote taking today on Heathrow expansion tomorrow, Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, the industry association that represents UK carriers, said:
“It is now or never for Heathrow expansion and the prospect of a bigger and better hub airport – there can be no turning back if the vote is lost – and we hope MPs will recognise this and provide the all-important political support that is needed to take the scheme to the next stage. Airlines are clear that they will respond to the unlocking of capacity by creating new routes and providing consumers with more choice and frequency – including to regional airports within the UK. The country desperately needs a new runway if it is to cater for future demand from passengers and cargo customers and enable us to do business in new markets and destinations overseas – this will be all important as we prepare to leave the EU. The benefits are there for all to see – £74 billion to passengers and the wider economy, tens of thousands of new jobs and a huge expansion in capacity for goods – and we cannot afford to let these slip away.
“Carriers have been vocal in expressing concerns about some elements of the project, in particular its cost and affordability, however this debate will now be able to play out during the planning process and we will be working closely with the Government and Civil Aviation Authority to ensure that they protect customers from increased costs and inefficiencies, and the Secretary of State must enforce his stated aim of keeping passenger charges at today’s levels. What is clear, however, is that if MPs vote against expansion in the House we will never reach this stage and the benefits of a new runway – to consumers, businesses and UK plc more generally – will be lost for ever.”