Lord Adonis warns delay to Heathrow expansion means losing out to rivals

The chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), Lord Adonis, has launched a fresh attack over delays to any Heathrow expansion with the UK said to be falling behind other nations in terms of access to fruitful markets like China.

Appearing before the Treasury Select Committee, Adonis warned how delays in pressing ahead with a third runway were "sacrificing national welfare" and the likes of Holland, France and Germany were all gaining an advantage from a lack of capacity at Heathrow. The chairman told MPs that other airports in the UK were not feeling any positive affects as a result.

He said: "International connectivity which we're losing from the UK as a result of not expanding Heathrow is not, unfortunately, going to Gatwick or to Stansted or to Manchester or to Edinburgh. It is going to Schiphol, to Frankfurt, to Charles de Gaulle, who are getting direct connectivity with emerging markets that we're not."

Adonis noted how Heathrow had fell behind in the European pecking order when it came to passenger destinations in China with just four destinations available. This was compared to Schiphol in Holland that serves nine, Charles de Gaulle in France serving seven, and Frankfurt in Germany offering five.

In attendance with Adonis was the NIC’s deputy chair Sir John Armitt, who is also a member of the Airports Commission. He said: “The longer we delay, the more we are frankly just a laughing stock around the world. And certainly, we're not going to be prepared post-Brexit to play our part."

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