John Holland-Kaye plays down Heathrow operator Ferrovial’s move out of the UK
We caught up with Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye just hours after Parliament ended a 50-year-old debate and overwhelmingly decided that the Heathrow expansion must go ahead.
Holland-Kaye spoke to us exclusively at the Public Sector Show about the immense business and investment opportunities this develpment opens for the UK, whilst also acknowledging the need to take a leadership position on the environmental debate surrounding the runway expansion.
How will Heathrow expansion unlock job and business opportunities in the UK?
There are two significant opportunities here: The first is during the planning and building phase and the second is once we have the new connections to global markets from across Britain. All of this will create a stimulus for businesses to get more export, more tourists, more students and more investors to come to the UK and create jobs.
What the steps you plan to take to address the air quality and environmental issues associated with the third runway debate?
We need to take a leadership position on the air quality as it is a significant issue, not just for London, but for many cities in the UK. The heart of this I think is not getting people on the public transport and that’s why I’m so pleased with the new public transport connections coming into Heathrow with Crossrail project, HS2 coming in 2027, and the progress we are making in Western and Southern Rail Link. All this is transformational and makes Heathrow an integrated transport hub.
Any comments on Heathrow-owner Ferrovial moving its holding company from the UK to the Netherlands?
Well I think that’s only one of the holding vehicles they have for their international investments. It doesn’t affect at all their investment in Heathrow, they are committed to Heathrow expansion…as are the other six channels that we have at Heathrow. They are absolutely committed to the infrastructure in Britain. We have been hearing today that foreign direct investment is down in the UK since the Brexit vote, well not at Heathrow. This is a £14bn investment in the UK — just at the time we needed.
Increasing reports suggest that there could be an increase in landing fees at the airport, with Holland-Kay stating that it would be “foolish to guarantee flat charges at this stage”.
Heathrow has earmarked the start of construction for 2021, with the runway opening in 2025 or 2026.