In its closing submission to the Airports Commission today, the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK, representing over 70 airlines, has stated that expansion at Heathrow is the right solution to drive the UK’s economy.
BAR UK chief executive, Dale Keller, said: “The terms of reference set by the government to the Airports Commission are clear - to maintain the UK’s position as Europe’s most important aviation hub.
“We have therefore set out our rationale to the Airports Commission on why most airlines conclude that a carefully cost controlled expansion at Heathrow will deliver a far greater return than expansion at Gatwick and is the only solution that can achieve the government’s primary objectives.
“The major cost of funding airport expansion will ultimately be borne by passengers through airport charges passed on via airfares, not by the UK taxpayer.
“Therefore, it is essential that additional capacity is built where the consumer demand exists and that the affordability and commercial business case will allow airlines to realise the full potential for the UK.”
With the current boom in UK inbound tourism demonstrating continuous year on year growth, the need for increased airport capacity to accommodate the growing visitor figures is pressing.
In response to the Airports Commission’s final consultation on the location of a new runway, which draws to a close earlier, UKinbound is calling upon the Airports Commission to recommend the development of additional runways at both Gatwick and Heathrow.
Inbound tourism is a vital part of the UK economy, bringing £21 billion to the UK in 2013, with all indications that the final results for 2014 will be up by a further three per cent.
The figures reflect that the UK is in demand as a travel destination and indicates that this trend will continue for the foreseeable future.
UKinbound’s chief executive officer, Deirdre Wells, commented: “Limitations in flight connectivity and airport capacity are two of the biggest barriers to growing our highly successful inbound tourism industry, which is the seventh highest export earner for the UK.
“An investment in the UK’s airport capacity is an investment in the future of the UK economy.
“Ideally, we would like to see growth at Heathrow, Gatwick and further expansion to our regional airports.
“What we ask for at this moment, is for an early decision to be made, to develop an infrastructure to match the demand for the UK as a key destination for leisure and business.”