The case for Heathrow Airport
Heathrow is the UK’s only hub airport. Before the pandemic, it only handled 23% of all flights into and out of the country, but was responsible for a whopping 78% of long haul flights - handling 70 million passengers each year and generating 2% of Britain's entire pre-pandemic GDP in the process.
Despite the reduction in travel caused by the pandemic, Heathrow expects to regain its 2019 passenger levels by 2026. Meaning, by the middle of the decade, it'll be at 98% capacity once again - making it unable to handle the traffic demands of the next decade.
Global airlines have used Heathrow as a base to develop an extensive long-haul route network. Passengers can fly to 75 destinations from Heathrow that aren't served by any other UK airport. More than 100,000 jobs depend on a successful hub airport at Heathrow.
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 was thriving before the downturn in air travel caused by the pandemic.
Keeping jobs in Britain
Expanding Heathrow would mean that airlines keep their businesses in the UK rather than moving them to another European hub airport, therefore keeping a huge number of jobs in Britain.
If Gatwick is expanded instead of Heathrow, it will not be able to provide the long haul connections that the UK needs to support its businesses, these routes will simply go to other hub airports abroad. Heathrow has been full (and losing routes to foreign hubs) for more than 10 years. Meanwhile, Gatwick has not added direct routes to emerging economies in that time.
Keeping business in west London
More than 200 of the top 300 companies in the UK have headquarters within 25 miles of Heathrow. The area is home to some of the world’s most highly productive business clusters, and has 60% more international businesses than the national average. They are there for a reason but companies need certainty and the knowledge that they have based themselves next to a successful hub airport with room to grow. In turn, the local supply chain relies on these clusters staying in the local area – and thriving.
How expansion of Heathrow Airport can be done well
Back Heathrow supports expansion at the airport but not at any price. We believe that residents should enjoy more peaceful nights. We believe that every community under a flight path should have periods of respite from noise without any aircraft flying overhead.
Expansion can bring problems, including noise, so Back Heathrow is campaigning to ensure the airport finds ways to grow in a way that is acceptable to a majority of local residents. We believe this can be done through a number of ways: