Heathrow CEO: No ‘global Britain’ without airport expansion

Friday, February 28, 2020

The CEO of Heathrow Airport has warned that stopping the construction of a third runway could put the UK’s global trade deals at risk.

John Holland-Kaye said the west London hub was the “beating heart” of the business sectors that provide the “lifeblood” of Britain’s economy.

A Court of Appeal yesterday ruled that the government had not given enough consideration to the environmental impact of the controversial expansion when they approved it in 2018 – further stalling the project which has already been decades in the making.

But Mr Holland-Kaye warned that halting the construction of a third runway would constitute a “national act of self-harm” amid competition offered by European airports.

“If the Prime Minister is serious about wanting to be a global Britain, doing new trade deals with all these long haul distant markets you can only get to from a hub airport, he can’t do it without expanding his biggest port,” he told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer.

The aviation boss continued: “If you don’t expand Heathrow, there will be no global Britain.

"If you don’t expand Heathrow, we will be flying through Paris to get to global markets – we’ll be taking back control with one hand and giving it to the French with the other.”

Following yesterday’s court ruling, Transport Secretary said the government would not be appealing the decision, saying the development will be “industry led”.

He tweeted: “Airport expansion is core to boosting global connectivity. We also take seriously our commitment to the environment.”

Mr Holland-Kaye said Heathrow will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, arguing that the runway plan is compatible with government commitments on climate change.

He added: “Flying is not the problem, carbon is.”

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