Third Heathrow runway ‘could add £9bn to region’

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The expansion of Heathrow is needed to help businesses in Yorkshire to reach their full potential, the London airport’s chief executive has said.

According to analysis from Heathrow, the region could see an additional £9bn in economic growth and 11,200 jobs if the London hub were to add a third runway.

This compares to the £6.2bn and 3,200 jobs the region would gain if the Government backed adding a second runway to Gatwick, Heathrow said.

Today marks the end of the Airport Commission’s public consultation on options to improve the South East’s airport capacity.

The consultation sought views on three options: adding an additional runway at Heathrow, either through a new runway or extension of the existing Northern strip, or adding a runway at Gatwick.

John Holland-Kaye, chief executive at Heathrow, said halting the airport’s expansion will hamper the UK’s growth.

He said: “Political delay has hamstrung the airports debate for the last 50 years and created a bottleneck of opportunity.

“Expansion at Heathrow can keep Britain at the heart of the global economy, connect economic other centres in Yorkshire to growth markets and attract tourists from mature and emerging markets.”

While Heathrow does not oppose growth at regional airports, such as Leeds Bradford, none of these outposts “can operate as a hub the way Heathrow does,” Mr Holland-Kaye said.

“Constraining Heathrow does not boost other UK airports but hands growth to our direct competitors Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt,” he said.

Mark Goldstone, head of policy at West & North Yorkshire Chamber, said access to international markets is essential for exporters in the region.

He said: “The connection to Heathrow from Leeds-Bradford International provides a vital link allowing businesses to access customers around the globe.

“An expanded Heathrow can only enhance trade opportunities and in turn economic growth.”

The Airports Commission will hand its recommendation to the Government next year.