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Airport expansion delay will help our competitors, say business chiefs

Over 50 business leaders signed a letter, organised by Let Britain Fly and  published in the Sunday Telegraph, calling on the Prime Minister to green-light a new runway at Heathrow.

The letter warns against any further lengthy public consultation or unnecessary delay.

It was written in response to news reports suggesting that whilst the Prime Minister was preparing to back a third runway, there might be yet another public consultation on the future of aviation capacity.

The full letter and signatories:

SIR – As business leaders, we welcome the news (report, November 8) that the Prime Minister is preparing to back a new runway at Heathrow. However, despite this decision, it seems the Government may be drawn into yet another lengthy consultation on aviation capacity, resulting in further delays and uncertainty. The Airports Commission has already spent three years consulting on this topic.

Airport expansion is fundamental to ensuring the Government’s long-term economic plan is delivered. Heathrow has been full for a decade, Gatwick will be full by 2020 and most of London’s other airports will be full by 2030. Lack of capacity is hindering the country’s ability to increase trade, particularly with high-growth economies where our connectivity is not as good as it should be.

Further delays to expansion would merely help global competitors edge ahead. Paris already has 50 per cent more flights to China than London, while Frankfurt serves double the number of Brazilian destinations.

The Government must show strong, determined leadership and press ahead as swiftly as possible with a third runway at Heathrow, as recommended by the Airports Commission.

John Longworth, Chief Executive, British Chambers of Commerce
Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive, WPP
Rebecca Kane, General Manager, The O2
Sir George Iacobescu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Canary Wharf Group
Mark Reynolds, Chief Executive, Mace
Michael Spencer, Group CEO, ICAP
David Sleath, Chief Executive Officer, SEGRO
Philip Green, Chairman, Carillion
John Stewart, Chairman, Legal & General
Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive, Aberdeen Asset Management
Paul Kelly, Managing Director, Selfridges
Michael Ward, Managing Director, Harrods
Stephen Catlin, Chairman, Catlin Group
John Allan, Chairman, London First
Robert Noel, Chief Executive, Land Securities Group
James Rowntree, Managing Director (Transportation), CH2M HILL
Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry
John Lehal, Managing Director, Insight Consulting Group
Mark Bensted, Managing Director, Powerday
Mike Turner, Chairman, Babcock International Group
Ian Durant, Chairman, Capital and Counties Properties
Harold Paisner, Senior Partner, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP
Jeffries Briginshaw, CEO, British American Business
Hugh Seaborn, Chief Executive, Cadogan
John Burns, Chief Executive, Derwent London
John Rhodes, Director, Quod
Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive, British Hospitality Association
Jim McAuslan, General Secretary, British Air Line Pilots’ Association
Surinder Arora, CEO, Arora Group
Kevin Murphy, Chairman, ExCeL London
Gordon Clark, Head of Commercial UK & Ireland, Global Blue
Mark Boleat, Chairman Policy & Resources Committee, City of London Corporation
Iain Anderson, Executive Chairman, Cicero Group
Chris Rumfitt, Founder & Chief Executive, Corporate Reputation Consulting
Bob Rothenberg, Senior Partner, Blick Rothenberg LLP
Paul Wait, Chief Executive Officer, GTMC
Sue Brown, Senior Managing Director, FTI Consulting
Sir Win Bischoff Richard Robinson, Chief Executive, Civil Infrastructure, EMEIA, AECOM
Eamon Butler, Director, Adam Smith Institute
Bill Moore, Chief Executive Officer, The Portman Estate
George Kessler, Group Deputy Chairman, Kesslers International
Tim Hancock, Managing Director, Terrence O’Rourke
Michael Hirst, Chairman, Business Visits and Events Partnership
James Rook, Managing Director, Nimlok
Vincent Clancy, Chief Executive Officer, Turner & Townsend
Stephen Hubbard, Chairman UK & EMEA, CBRE
Inderneel Singh, General Manager, The May Fair Hotel
Gavin Hayes, Director, Let Britain Fly
Dale Keller, Chief Executive, BARUK

Alongside the letter was further coverage in the paper, while a number of other media outlets, including Bloomberg picked up and ran with the story.

A Government announcement on airport expansion is now expected within weeks, with campaigners calling for a ‘clear and final decision’ to implement the Airports Commission’s recommendation to expand Heathrow.

For more information on Let Britain Fly or to get more involved contact the campaign’s Director, Gavin Hayes, ghayes@londonfirst.co.uk

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