Bosses at Heathrow have launched a £100,000 advertising campaign to highlight the airport’s links to emerging economies.
The campaign has been launched with a series of awareness-raising posters designed to capture the attention of MPs heading into work or going home.
It comes as new transport secretary Justine Greening prepares for the conclusion of a Government consultation on aviation policy.
The posters appear along the walls of Westminster Tube station, carrying slogans such as “Only Heathrow brings growth to our doorstep”, “Nothing grows without routes” and “Right now, no island can afford to be an island”.
The move – which will also see the roll-out of adverts in the press – comes amid concerns that ministers are not using airports and air travel to boost the UK economy.
The campaign comes after London mayor Boris Johnson backed calls for a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary. Recent weeks have also seen proposals unveiled to create a high-speed rail link to connect Heathrow and Gatwick.
However, this latest campaign aims to boost support for protecting Heathrow’s ‘hub’ status, according to Simon Baugh, director of media relations at its operator, BAA.
Baugh said: “We do not think there has been anything from the Treasury that puts aviation as part of the plan for growth.
“Investment in high-speed rail and infrastructure is good but High Speed Two [rail from London]is going to knock 20 minutes off the trip to Birmingham, while links with emerging markets will govern how successful we are over the next 20 years.”
The campaign also follows a report which claimed that Britain’s airports did not offer enough direct flights to emerging economies. The report said that the lack of flights was costing Britain £1.2bn a year, leading BAA chief executive Colin Matthews to warn that the UK faced being “cut off” from such markets.
Baugh refuted claims that the new campaign had been launched to push for a third Heathrow runway. The call for a third runway was slammed by Greening when Labour was in office.
A Government spokesman said: “We are committed to developing a new policy framework for aviation which supports economic growth, while addressing the environmental impacts of flying. We will publish a draft policy in spring.”