Chief executives from Carillion and Mace are among a group of business leaders that have urged the government to call an early parliamentary vote to expand Heathrow.
Carillion leader Richard Howson and Mace boss Mark Reynolds were among the 60 leaders to sign an open letter to the prime minister calling for a vote by summer 2016 at the latest.
The letter, from campaign group Let Britain Fly, comes 28 days after the government-established Airports Commission recommended Heathrow as the location for London’s new runway.
In the letter, industry leaders said the government needed to provide a “swift and positive” response to the commission’s report by ensuring an early parliamentary vote takes place.
It cited economic benefits as the main reason for expansion at Heathrow, with the new runway delivering 70,000 jobs and a £147bn boost to the economy.
The letter added: “Airport expansion is about more than where to build a new runway – it is about securing long-term prosperity and creating jobs and growth for future generations.
“By value, 40 per cent of our exports go by air and we trade up to 20 times more with countries with which we have a direct air link.”
The letter also suggested that if the government wanted its mandate of investing in national infrastructure to look “credible”, it would have to back Heathrow.
Signatories also included British Land CEO Chris Grigg; Derwent CEO John Burns; Turner & Townsend CEO Vincent Clancy; and Pinsent Masons senior partner Richard Foley.
The Let Britain Fly letter
After nearly three years examining the evidence, the view of the Airports Commission is unequivocal: Britain needs airport expansion and the best solution is to build a new runway at Heathrow.
We back this recommendation and believe the government must now provide a swift and positive response to the commission’s final report that sets out a clear timetable for an early parliamentary vote to take place by summer 2016.
With Heathrow already full for a decade and all of London’s other major airports likely to be full by the end of the next decade, the government must now address the need for a new runway with urgency and give the green light as soon as possible.
Airport expansion is about more than where to build a new runway, it is about securing long-term prosperity and creating jobs and growth for future generations.
By value, 40 per cent of our exports go by air and we trade up to 20 times more with countries with which we have a direct air link.
The Airports Commission has concluded that Heathrow expansion could deliver up to £147bn in economic benefit and 70,000 new jobs.
A new runway will also deliver significant connectivity and economic benefits to Northern Ireland, Scotland and the regions in northern England, ensuring key cities across the country such as Belfast, Glasgow and Newcastle have easy access to the capital and on to international markets beyond.
Our competitors will not wait while we catch up.
Amsterdam already has six runways, whilst Paris and Frankfurt each have four.
Heathrow has only two runways.
As a result, Paris now has 50 per cent more flights to China.
Whilst earlier this year Dubai International overtook Heathrow as the world’s busiest international airport.
So we are becoming less competitive as a global aviation hub at a time when our competitors have plans to build over 50 new runways globally.
The new government was elected upon a mandate to invest in national infrastructure.
If the UK’s long-term economic plan is to remain credible then allowing investment into the construction of a new runway is essential.
The business community stands ready to support the government in getting the new runway built as quickly as possible and urges strong political leadership to ensure this is delivered.
After decades of inaction we must ensure airport expansion is the number one infrastructure priority of this parliament.
Let’s now work together and get it built.