Heathrow Airport: New runway vital for UK after BrexitComments Off on Heathrow Airport: New runway vital for UK after Brexit
BRITAIN’S success in leaving the EU hinges on a new runway at Heathrow to bolster ties with countries outside the trading bloc, the airport’s boss said today.
Chief executive John Holland-Kaye backed the new Tory government to allow the much-delayed £16 billion proposal but warned the UK will become a “second-class economy” lagging France and Germany if Heathrow misses out on Britain’s new runway.
Brexiteers have promised to bolster non-EU trade after UK leaves but Holland-Kaye insisted their plan will only succeed with more capacity at Heathrow.
“We have good support in the Cabinet and there’s a real sense of urgency now within government to make a decision,” he said. “The world has changed and it’s more vital than ever that we have more routes to emerging markets.
“If the government continues to do nothing we will be choosing a future as a second-class economy and choosing to fall behind competitors.
“The new runway is a cornerstone of the UK’s economic plan, if we’re not pinning our future on the EU.”
Holland-Kaye said International Trade Secretary Liam Fox supported a Heathrow runway as did local government secretary Sajid Javid. The former Taylor Wimpey man expects the government to decide in September or at the Autumn Statement whether to give the thumbs-up to the Heathrow runway.
The issue has been a long-running sore for the airport and government since an official commission led by Royal Bank of Scotland chairman Sir Howard Davies recommended a third runway at Heathrow last summer.
Davies found Heathrow was the best option for the UK over Gatwick but the rival airport still insists it should get the new runway, a plan supported by London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Some have questioned whether new Prime Minister Theresa May and chancellor Philip Hammond will throw their weight behind Heathrow given staunch opposition to a third runway by foreign secretary and Brexit winner Boris Johnson.
Holland-Kaye downplayed Johnson’s influence, given Heathrow is not part of his portfolio.
“He’s a local MP so he will see the benefit of more jobs for his constituents and as foreign secretary he will be one of our frequent travellers,” he added.
Heathrow, the 11th-biggest privately owned company in the UK, eked out a 1% rise in revenue to £1.3 billion for the six months ending June.
Pre-tax profits rose by a larger 8.7% to £75 million after the company slashed costs by 3.6% by doing things like cutting down on energy bills.