UK business leaders demand action from new Government on vital airport expansion

One hundred business leaders write to Cameron to ramp pressure for early post Davies Commission report decision on new runway in the South East.

Let Britain Fly

Britain’s global competitiveness and future growth will be put at risk if a long awaited post Election decision over airport expansion in the South East is delayed, business leaders have warned.

In a letter from pro airport expansion campaign group Let Britain Fly signed by 100 key UK business leaders, David Cameron’s new Tory government was urged to act decisively on the final recommendation of the Davies Airports Commission, which is expected to imminently recommend expanding Gatwick or Heathrow. 

“Expanding our international connectivity is fundamental to ensuring Britain remains open for business and would give a much-needed boost to trade, tourism, investment and economic growth right across the country." Let Britain Fly

Signatories include a large number of business leaders from Britain’s top firms including many from the FTSE 100; alongside the heads of business organisations including the British Chambers of Commerce, IOD, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and London First.

“The new Government should use its fresh mandate and make a bold and early decision to build a new runway,” said Gavin Hayes, Director of Let Britain Fly. “With all of London’s airports forecast to be full by 2030, kicking the can down the road is no longer an option.

He added: “This will be one of the first big issues that will test whether the Government is capable of making strategic decisions in the national interest. After almost three years of debating the issue in a Commission decision-day is fast approaching.”

The Conservatives pledged in their manifesto to “respond to the Airports Commission’s Final Report”, which to many leaves the door open to delay this controversial decision further through new reviews and studies ahead of a decision. 

However, Let Britain Fly’s statement says that to maintain the trust and confidence of the business community further delay is unwelcome stating: “One of the most urgent infrastructure priorities for the new Government is the decision to expand airport capacity.

“The new Government should use its fresh mandate and make a bold and early decision to build a new runway,” Gavin Hayes, Director of Let Britain Fly.

“Expanding our international connectivity is fundamental to ensuring Britain remains open for business and would give a much-needed boost to trade, tourism, investment and economic growth right across the country. By value forty per cent of our exports go by air; we trade up to twenty times more with countries we have a direct air link to.”

With the UK’s airport full and other countries expanding runway capacity the UK, which has not built a new full-length runway in the South East since 1945, will quickly slip behind in competitiveness, it warns.

“This is why when the Airports Commission publishes its Final Report, we urge the new Government to make an early decision on airport expansion and end over half a century of political procrastination.” 

Signatories include the following:

  • Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive, Aberdeen Asset Management

  • Dr Eamonn Butler, Director, Adam Smith Institute

  • Richard Robinson, Chief Executive, Civil Infrastructure EMEA &India, AECOM

  • David Partridge, Managing Partner, Argent LLP

  • Surinder Arora, Founder/CEO, Arora Holdings

  • George Weston, Chief Executive Officer, Associated British Foods

  • Heather Lishman, Association Manager, Association of British Professional Conference Organisers

  • Nick Roberts, Chief Executive Officer UK and Europe, Atkins

  • Bill Munro, Chairman, Barrhead Travel

  • Harold Paisner, Senior Partner, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP

  • Bob Rothenberg MBE, Senior Partner, Blick Rothenberg LLP

  • Dale Keller, Chief Executive, Board of Airline Representatives in the UK

  • Jim McAuslan, General Secretary, British Airline Pilots' Association

  • John Longworth, Director General, British Chambers of Commerce

  • Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive, British Hospitality Association

  • Chris Grigg, Chief Executive, British Land

  • Jeffries Briginshaw, CEO, BritishAmerican Business & British American Business Council

  • Sir Mike Rake, Chairman, BT Group

  • Michael Hirst OBE, Chairman, Business Visits and Events Partnership

  • Hugh Seaborn, Chief Executive, Cadogan

  • John Syvret, Chief Executive Officer, Cammell Laird Group

  • Sir George Iacobescu CBE, Chairman and Chief Executive, Canary Wharf Group

  • Richard Howson, Chief Executive, Carillion

  • Stephen Hubbard, Chairman - UK & EMEA, CBRE

  • Tim Knox, Director, Centre for Policy Studies

  • James Rowntree, Managing Director, Transportation, CH2M HILL

  • Stephen Phillips, Chief Executive, China-Britain Business Council 

  • Iain Anderson, Co-Founder and Chief Corporate Counsel, Cicero Group

  • Mark Boleat, Chairman of Policy and Resources Committee, City of London Corporation

  • Professor Paul Curran, Vice-Chancellor, City University London

  • Des Gunewardena, Chairman & CEO, D & D London

  • Angus Knowles-Cutler, London Senior Partner, Deloitte

  • John Burns, Chief Executive, Derwent London

  • Rick Butterworth, Managing Director, Diamond Recruitment Group

  • Mathew Riley, Managing Director, Infrastructure & Environment, EC Harris

  • Chris Rumfitt, Chief Executive, Corporate Reputation Consulting 

  • Inderneel Singh, Group Corporate Development Manager, Edwardian Group London

  • Olaf Swantee, Managing Director, EE 

  • Terry Scuoler, CEO, EEF

  • Kevin Murphy, Chairman, ExCeL London

  • David Wells, Chief Executive, Freight Transport Association

  • Sue Brown, Senior Managing Director, FTI Consulting

  • Jeremy Taylor, Chief Executive, Gatwick Diamond Business

  • David Cliff, Managing Director, Gedanken

  • Hugh Bullock, Senior Partner, Gerald Eve LLP

  • Mike Turner CBE, Chairman, GKN PLC & Babcock International Group 

  • Gordon Clark, Country Manager, Global Blue

  • Andrew Cunningham, Chief Executive, Grainger

  • Toby Courtauld, Chief Executive, Great Portland Estates

  • Mark Preston, Chairman and Non-Executive Director, Grosvenor

  • Paul Wait, Chairman, Guild of Travel Management Companies

  • Rob Bould, Chief Executive, GVA

  • Michael Ward, Managing Director, Harrods

  • Brian L Dunsby, Chief Executive, Harrogate Chamber of Trade & Commerce

  • Mr Andrew Formica, Chief Executive, Henderson Group

  • Nicholas Cheffings, Chair, Hogan Lovells 

  • Nicola Shaw, Chief Executive Officer, HS1 Limited

  • Michael Spencer, CEO, ICAP

  • John Lehal, Managing Director, Insight Public Affairs

  • Simon Walker, Director General, Institute of Directors

  • Richard Solomans, Chief Executive, InterContinental Hotels Group

  • Andrew Murphy, Retail Director, John Lewis Partnership

  • George Kessler CBE, Group Deputy Chairman, Kesslers International

  • Simon Collins, UK Chairman & Senior Partner, KPMG

  • Robert Noel, Chief Executive, Land Securities Group 

  • John Stewart, Chairman, Legal & General Group

  • Gavin Hayes, Director, Let Britain Fly 

  • Jenny Stewart, Chief Executive, Liverpool Chamber of Commerce 

  • Robert Hough, Chair, Liverpool City Region LEP

  • Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive, London Chamber of Commerce

  • Jo Valentine, CEO, London First

  • John Allan CBE, Chairman, London First

  • Mark Reynolds, Chief Executive, Mace Group

  • Yoshiki Yamada, Director, CHRO & CCO, Mitsui & Co. Europe Plc

  • Richard Dickinson, Chief Executive, New West End Company

  • James Rook, Managing Director, Nimlok 

  • James Ramsbotham, Chief Executive, North East Chamber of Commerce

  • Ann McGregor MBE, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry

  • Adrian Shooter CBE, Chairman, Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership

  • Jonathan Fletcher, Director, PG Legal 

  • Richard Foley, Senior Partner, Pinsent Masons

  • Mark Bensted OBE, Managing Director, Powerday 

  • John Rhodes, Director, Quod

  • Mr Mark Lancaster, Chairman, SDL

  • David Sleath, Chief Executive, SEGRO

  • Paul Kelly, Managing Director, Selfridges Group

  • Juergen Maier, Chief Executive, Siemens

  • David McAlpine, Partner, Sir Robert McAlpine 

  • Sue Rimmer OBE, Principal and Chief Executive, South Thames College

  • Willie Stewart, Director, Stewart Travel 

  • John Sutcliffe, Managing Director, Sutcliffe

  • Tim Hancock, Managing Director, Terence O'Rourke

  • Victor Chavez, Chief Executive Officer, Thales UK

  • Rebecca Kane, General Manager, The O2

  • Bill Moore, Chief Executive, The Portman Estate

  • Ric Lewis, Chief Executive, Tristan Capital Partners

  • Vincent Clancy, Chief Executive Officer, Turner & Townsend

  • Professor Michael Arthur, President and Provost, UCL

  • Basil Scarsella, Chief Executive Officer, UK Power Networks

  • Frank Wingate, Chief Executive, West London Business

  • Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive Officer, WPP

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