A third runway at Heathrow will provide a major boost for the Northern Powerhouse, the airport’s chief executive has said, ahead of a crunch decision on capacity.
John Holland-Kaye said that without the ability to expand Heathrow, cities in the north would suffer.
He told the Press Association: “Without the third runway, other cities will also suffer and that’s the point, it’s for the whole of the UK, it’ll help drive the Northern Powerhouse and create jobs.
“The country is losing £1 billion a month because Heathrow doesn’t have a third runway.”
The plans have proved highly contentious, with local residents and campaigners railing against the extra noise and air pollution they claim expansion would bring.
Mr Holland-Kaye has moved to quell concerns by pledging to reduce night flights and curb noise and pollution if it is given the go ahead to build the runway.
He added: “There’s been a very positive reaction to the night flight decision. The tone of conversation has improved enormously.”
He also revealed that he has invited new London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who had backed a third runway as transport minister but changed his mind when running for office, for talks.
“We have a lot in common with Sadiq Khan, we wrote to him a few weeks ago to invite him to sit down with and solve the emissions problem together.”
Last year, the Government’s Airports Commission said a third runway at the west London hub is the best route to expanding airport capacity.
But David Cameron stalled on rubber stamping the recommendation, saying the Government required more time to assess the environmental impact.
A decision is now expected in the summer, and Mr Holland-Kaye believes the EU referendum could play a role.
“The Prime Minister said that there would be a decision this summer. Providing there’s a Remain vote, the Government has a window before to announce the decision before July 21, otherwise it’ll be September,” he said.
Mr Holland-Kaye also reiterated his pro-Remain stance, saying: “We see the benefit of being in the EU and the trade it brings every day. In the short term, there would be a modest impact, but over the following years there would be volatility.”