Home London News If Britain’s economy is to keep growing, we must grow Heathrow

If Britain’s economy is to keep growing, we must grow Heathrow

by LLB Editor
29th Oct 14 9:21 am

Why the best place to connect Britain to future growth is the airport that already does

This article is brought to you by Heathrow

It finally happened. Earlier this month the International Monetary Fund (IMF) labelled China the world’s largest economy. And by 2019, it expects it to be 20% bigger than that of the US.

But China is just one big player amid a host of economies growing at phenomenal rates. The IMF’s data shows that since 2007, the 25 countries it defines as emerging grew nine times faster than our sluggish advanced economies.

So what does this mean for the UK’s growing, yet still fragile, economy?

For now at least, there’s good news; as these economies grow, so too does their appetite for British labelled goods. While we ride the post-Olympic, royal baby boom wave, ‘Brand Britain’ remains stronger than ever. In fact, a recent report by Barclays Corporate Banking predicts that expenditure on retail goods in the UK from overseas tourists will rise by 36.3% by 2017.**

So how can our island nation service this interest in Grand Britannia – and keep up with this changing world order? The answer is simple yet multifaceted.

Only by directly accessing these markets, better understanding their cultures, increasing our exports, enabling international transit and facilitating travel into the UK and Europe, will the green shoots of our economy keep growing. So in that respect, the answer is complex. But to do all these things, we need to expand our only airport hub, Heathrow. And it’s in that respect, that the answer is so simple.

It’s crucial that we expand Heathrow, rather than just lay on more flights, because the airport is at full capacity. It simply cannot serve the growing demand from emerging markets in Asia and South America.

And for every month that it fails to meet the demand, we pay £1.25bn in lost trade.

Meanwhile, our competitors in France, Germany and The Netherlands enjoy the boom. While Heathrow pushes along at full capacity, unable to exploit the increase in air travel, the airport hubs of Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam pick up our lost trade. One hub’s loss, another hub’s gain.

Thankfully, it’s not too late. Heathrow remains – for the time being at least – one of the most important airport hubs in the world and an invaluable asset to the UK. A new runway would make sure it stays that way. It would also create more than 120,000 new jobs. In fact, the 3,500 metres of tarmac needed for a runway would lead to £100bn of economic benefits.

Not just this, over 40,000 UK businesses are in favour of expanding Heathrow. In a recent open letter to the Airports Commission, 23 UK Chambers of Commerce have demanded for Heathrow expansion. After all, over 25% of all British exports go through Heathrow.

Do you support the Heathrow expansion? Join the #BuildingBritain debate on Twitter

This article is brought to you by Heathrow

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