Could the Heathrow expansion be good for business?

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Heathrow’s new runway is open for Business

“Connor

Connor James Ibbetson, Editor-at-large

The potential pros for Britain’s business from a Heathrow expansion.

The expansion of the UK’s busiest airport, Heathrow, has already caused a flurry of media controversy with puddits lining up to justify and condemn the idea of a third runway.

In politics the story is the same, with one Government minister, Greg Hands, resigning his post so he could honor a commitment to vote against the expansion, after Tory MPs were denied a free vote on the matter.

We all know the cons of a new runway, potentially increased noise and air pollution, construction woes, but what could a Heathrow expansion offer the world of British business, especially in the uncertain times ahead?

Tourism gets a boost

First and foremost, the increased capacity of the airport would serve the tourism industry well, potentially driving down flight prices into the capital. Heathrow currently supports 76 million passengers a year (2016), flying to and from 200 destinations. An additional runway could see the number of people able to travel from the site rise to 110 million a year. The additional runway would also mean more internal domestic flights to destinations across the UK, giving a boost to local tourism dependant business.

Could the Heathrow expansion be good for business? The airport could serve 10s of millions additional passengers and thousands of cargo flights a year after expansion. Image: Wikimedia commons.

Could the Heathrow expansion be good for business? The airport could serve 10s of millions additional passengers and thousands of cargo flights a year after expansion. Image: Wikimedia commons.

Small and Medium enterprises

Expansion will also open a wealth of opportunities for small-medium enterprises [SME]. Heathrow already spends over £1.5 billion annually with over 1,200 SMEs and suppliers, from all across the country as well as the local communities. In 2017, over £93.4 million of new deals were formed through Heathrow partnership deals with new SME’s.

Its been 70 years since our last runway

It has been almost 70 years since the southern United Kingdom built a new full-length runway, and the benefits are not limited to the south as some may fear. The Airports commission found that construction of a new runway will lead to the creation of around 18,000 jobs across the nation, rising to 179,600 new jobs by 2050. As well as Up to £211bn of economic benefits across the UK, £97bn more than an expansion of Gatwick.

Easy come, Easy cargo

The additional runway will also improve Heathrow’s capabilities as a hub for Air freight. Expansion would allow more tonnage of cargo to travel through Heathrow than gatwick. With Heathrow being the UK’s only Hub Airport, that cargo could be better flown around the country.

Apprenticeships and learning

Heathrow expansion will also create a wealth of learning and apprenticeship opportunities, with Heathrow forming a ‘a Skills Taskforce of schools, colleges, universities, unions, local authorities and the voluntary and private sectors.’ The scheme estimates to create an additional 5,000 apprenticeship places by 2030.

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