Heathrow is the UK’s only hub airport, making it unique. It supports 23% of flights into and out of the country, but is responsible for a whopping 78% of long haul flights.
More and more people are flying – not just for holidays or to visit family but also to do business with companies and countries around the world. Emerging economies, such as China, India, Russia and Brazil, offer big opportunities for British companies, but only if they can get there by air.
The airport is well placed to support those extra flights that both business and leisure travellers need. It already has extensive public transport links, with more on the way. It’s ideally located for the people and businesses using it and who will want to use it in future.
Heathrow has been a huge success story. It has attracted more people to the area, businesses have set up around Heathrow and the local economy is thriving. People have money in their pockets and local businesses and the community benefit. No fewer than 114,000 jobs in the local community and a further 250,000 jobs in the wider region rely on a successful Heathrow Airport.
But there is a problem.
Now, there is an increasing demand from passengers, businesses and politicians for more flights to long-haul destinations so we can create more wealth for the country through trade. But Heathrow is currently full to capacity and it has to grow to meet that demand. It is the front door to Britain - yet it is closed to new business.
One of two things can happen to satisfy this demand. Either:
Heathrow will build extra runway provision to put on the extra flights to new and emerging markets. And it will do so with a clear commitment to a cleaner and quieter airport.
Those new flights will operate from a different hub airport abroad that has spare capacity, like Paris or Amsterdam. As a point-to-point airport Gatwick is not the solution to this demand because the majority of long-haul airlines want to operate through a network of hub airports. The connections and transfer traffic needed to make many routes viable can only be found at a hub airport like Heathrow - they simply don't exist anywhere else in the UK.
If it is the latter then inevitably, over time, Heathrow will shrink and more jobs will be lost, leading to a spiral of decline as airlines and businesses that rely on a flourishing airport and a flourishing local economy relocate abroad to find these things and the security that goes with them.
Seizing a golden opportunity
We don’t have to choose inevitable decline. There is a golden opportunity for local communities and the UK if we are prepared to take it. If Heathrow is able to build extra runway capacity and offer new flights to emerging markets, this will protect existing jobs and create 50,000 new local jobs, including 10,000 apprenticeships in the boroughs immediately neighbouring the airport. In total, 120,000 jobs will be created across the UK and the benefits to the country amounting to £100 billion.
The fortunes of local communities and Heathrow are inextricably linked. If Heathrow declines, so too will the local economies and standards of living. If Heathrow grows and flourishes, and responds to changing business needs, so too will the local economy grow. And everyone will be better off as a result.
That's why more than 100,000 local people have already spoken out in favour of Heathrow expansion. Independent polling confirms this support is widespread and statistically representative of the community. Join them - and help local communities seize this golden opportunity to grow and prosper alongside Heathrow. What are you waiting for?