LONDON, England – Today, Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye delivered a speech to the Westminster Policy Forum setting out how a third runway would help deliver a stronger, fairer Britain, with Heathrow now working to deliver the benefits of expansion more quickly, and at lower cost.
The full speech is below.
It’s a great pleasure to be back at the Westminster Policy Forum.
It’s a couple of years since I was last here – I think that time I talked about why Heathrow expansion was the right choice for Britain.
Two years on.…you may be wondering if the airport capacity issue has moved on. I can assure you it has.
In fact, I think it is finally coming to a point where the government will make a decision to back Heathrow expansion and we can get Britain moving.
What has changed?
Firstly, the Airport Commission’s independent report.
It unanimously and unequivocally backed Heathrow as the right choice.
The strongest option, and the fairest option, for all of Britain.
Secondly, the Brexit vote.
Leaving the EU means that it’s more essential than ever that we create trading links to the growing markets of the world – and that we control our own trade routes.
Only Heathrow expansion can do this. And it’s an urgent task, if we are to have a strong and fair post-Brexit economy.
And finally, we now have a Prime Minister who has remained open minded on how to deliver more airport capacity, and makes decisions based on the facts.
But she does have a clear political vision, to create a country where prosperity and opportunity is more evenly shared.
A fairer and stronger Britain, which Heathrow expansion will help her to deliver.
To many people an airport is just a few miles of tarmac, some terminal buildings and lots of planes.
What Sir Howard Davies’ Airports Commission achieved was to show that Heathrow was very different from other UK airports.
As a hub, we pool demand from across the whole of the UK and Europe.
As such, we can support regular, year round flights to long haul emerging markets that just cannot be supported from point to point airports.
We can do this because of cargo, and because of transfer passengers.
They fill up planes even at quieter times of the year to make regular flights to long haul destinations viable.
And pooling demand at a hub will always be the most efficient way of connecting people and things.
You may hear people say that disruptive new technology makes a hub irrelevant. Not so.
Hubs around the world are growing – and not just in aviation.
The great technology disrupters – Google, Amazon, even the cloud – all use the hub and spoke model to be efficient.
That same model means Heathrow can support regular flights to 83 long haul destinations. More than almost any other airport in the world.
And that maintains Britain’s place as a strong, outward looking trading nation.
But we don’t just carry people.
The same planes that carry Britain’s exporters around the world also carry their exports – in fact almost 30% of all non-EU exports go by air from Heathrow. Anything high value, with a short supply chain or a short shelf life goes by air from Heathrow. Heathrow provides Britain’s trade routes to growth markets, and helps us to be an independent and strong trading nation.
But we have been at capacity for a decade.
And that lack of capacity increasingly means that British exporters have to go through a foreign hubs to get to world markets, which adds time and cost – putting them at a competitive disadvantage and handing control of Britain’s supply routes to our competitors.
If we want Britain to remain strong, then we need to sustain and grow our own links to those burgeoning economies.
Expanding Heathrow is the only way to do this.
Let me give you an example of how Heathrow serves Britain.
Mexico is a key emerging market. 120 million consumers, hungry for British goods and expertise. We should be developing stronger trade links.
You can get there from both Heathrow and Gatwick.
From Gatwick, you can get a seasonal flight to Cancun, the party capital of Mexico – or so I’m told.
But at Heathrow you get a daily service, all year round, to Mexico City – the business capital. A city the size of London, but growing at almost 5% a year.
In fact you can fly with Aeromexico or BA – that’s real competition and choice for passengers.
These flights carry executives from Diageo visiting their international operations, inward tourists and students, as well as foreign direct investors, such as Cemex.
These links are the lifeblood of a stronger economy.
Now I’m sure we’d all love to go and party in Cancun – but unless we have the jobs and a strong economy, it will only be the very few who will be able to afford to.
And when it comes to jobs, Heathrow wins hands down.
180,000. That’s four times the number of jobs created by Gatwick expansion, four times as many families provided for.
In fact, the Airports Commission concluded that when you add all this up – jobs, exports, tourists, the whole lot – Heathrow expansion would mean up to £211 billion for the British economy.
That’s the equivalent of £24,500 per UK family – twice as much as Gatwick.
That difference is too stark to ignore.
For connecting to emerging markets, for getting Britain’s exports to the world, for benefits to every region – Heathrow is the strongest choice.
So the real question we face is quite simple.
Which will Britain choose to be – a hub or a spoke?
Are we happy to fly through Amsterdam to reach the rest of the world? To lose our crown as the busiest international port to Dubai? To lose top spot in the connectivity rankings to Paris?
Or do we want to take back control, start winning again and secure Britain’s place at the heart of the global economy?
Doing business in places like Mexico City. Not just partying away in Cancun whilst the global economy moves on without us.
Not left at the margins, a small island off the coast of Europe. But a proud, outward-looking trading nation.
The facts all point to one solution.
Now is the time to make the right choice for a stronger Britain, and back Heathrow expansion.
But we cannot ignore the decision that was made on 23rd June.
Now more than ever before, the world needs to see that Britain is a truly global nation.
We need to stand confident on the world stage, showing what we have to offer to far flung corners of the globe.
The Olympics in Rio were a great demonstration of this.
Think back to how we all felt, eyes glued to the screen.
Watching our athletes, from all parts of Britain, competing and winning against nations 40 times our size.
Their victories have given the whole country confidence, that if we invest in our winners, if we work hard, if we are strong under pressure, we too can be successful.
London didn’t beat China in the medals table, Team GB did.
And Brexit success will come from Team GB as well. The whole country having the ability to trade with the world.
Britain needs to rebalance the economy towards exports, and Heathrow can help make that happen, delivering a fairer Brexit.
You may wonder how here in London, we can talk about the benefits of Heathrow expansion to towns and cities hundreds of miles away.
But exports show how Heathrow’s global connectivity is crucial to the prosperity of our regions and nations.
You may be surprised to learn that the biggest export through Heathrow by volume is high quality salmon, worth £280m to the Scottish economy. Regular connections from Heathrow mean fresh salmon can get from the farm in Scotland to the seafood market in Tokyo within 24 hours.
Think how much more could we export, with more flights from Scottish cities to Heathrow, connecting to 40 new long haul destinations?
And it’s not just exports.
Since BA reinstated the Inverness route to Heathrow earlier this year, tourism in the region has been booming.
Jacobite Cruises, which has been running tourist cruises on Loch Ness for forty years, has increased passenger numbers by 12% since the route started.
Think what more they could achieve – how many more passengers, how many more employees – if there were more flights, at better times of day?
That’s what a fairer Brexit looks like – towns and cities across the UK, selling to the world, welcoming tourists from across the globe, and growing their local economy.
Let’s take the North East, one of our most successful exporting regions.
6 flights a day from Newcastle to Heathrow connects the North East with every corner of the world.
Miller Manufacturing, based in Cramlington, export their specialist construction equipment via Heathrow to India and China, and they are now expanding into Australia and the Middle East.
3 direct flights a day from Heathrow to Tokyo make it easy for managers from Hitachi and Nissan to get to their home base.
That is why Newcastle Airport, North East Chamber of Commerce, Newcastle Council, North East MPs and businesses across the region, all support Heathrow expansion.
As do their opposite numbers in Liverpool and Newquay.
They’re currently cut off from their hub, but with more capacity, and a direct link to Heathrow, they could really make a success of Brexit, attracting new investment and jobs.
A decision for Heathrow sends a strong signal to investors that Britain is open for business.
An invitation to invest in every corner of this country, not just London.
It shows our Government makes the right choice for our economy, and the fairer choice for our country.
Could Gatwick be the airport to get British exporters, from every region, to those emerging markets?
History says not.
In spite of spare capacity, they serve fewer emerging markets, serve fewer UK cities and carry fewer exports than they did 6 years ago.
In spite of being at capacity, Heathrow serves more emerging markets, serves more UK cities and carries more exports.
In fact, we carry more cargo in a bank holiday weekend than Gatwick does in a year.
What is the lesson of Rio?
That if we invest in our winners, we can be world-beaters.
The next generation will not thank us, if we don’t seize the opportunity of Brexit. If we end up with a weaker economy, and a more divided country. If we aim for the Bronze medal when we could so easily have won Gold.
Now is the time to build a fairer economy, and spread prosperity across the UK.
Now is the time to make the right choice for the whole country and back Heathrow expansion.
Heathrow expansion will help futureproof our economy. And the Airportd Commission showed that across every future scenario, whatever comes next, Heathrow will make Britain stronger than Gatwick can.
Why is this so important?
Because if this summer has taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected.
Even an Armando Iannucci plot wouldn’t have as many ups and downs as this summer’s political roller coaster.
But I think we’ve come to end of this particular ride.
There’s a new Prime Minister in Downing Street, and a new Government formed.
Already in her short time in office, the Prime Minister has brought a welcome sense of stability and reassurance.
But those mistaking calmness for a lack of vision, have had to think again.
No more so than when she made her statement of intent on the steps of Number 10.
When she promised a better Britain for everyone.
To quote her directly:
‘A union not just between the nations of the United Kingdom but between all of our citizens, every one of us, whoever we are and wherever we’re from.’
Saying she will lead for the many, not the few.
For the hard working, for those who might feel left behind.
Her words resonated with me.
I think we all share that vision for our country.
A stronger and a fairer Britain that works for everyone.
And it is a vision that Heathrow expansion will help to deliver.
Privately-funded infrastructure that will create jobs during this Parliament in planning and construction, and thousands more when the runway opens.
Supporting hard working people, sharing the benefits, and creating a more equal society.
Extra capacity means more domestic links – new cities with direct routes to Heathrow, and new connections to the world. Getting business moving.
Heathrow will soon be at the heart of an integrated transport network, in addition to air links and 5 motorways, we will have 5 rail links to North South, East and West – western rail access, Crossrail and HS2 will bring people closer to the UK’s hub.
A project for the whole of Britain.
The Airports Commission estimated that over half the jobs created by Heathrow expansion will be outside London and the South East.
In every region and nation of the UK, Heathrow expansion would deliver about 4 times more jobs than Gatwick. Why? Because flights from Heathrow support manufacturers, service businesses, exporters up and down the country. Tourists coming to the UK to spend their money here, not just hard working Brits going on a well earned holiday overseas. The real economy.
But, as with any major infrastructure project, there is an impact for those closest to the airport.
We are determined to minimise the effects of the new runway, while ensuring our neighbours benefit most.
That’s why this year, we accepted the conditions set out by the Airports Commission.
So, an expanded Heathrow will be quieter, cleaner, and offer a fair deal to our neighbors.
We will meet tough environmental and noise limits, enforced by new independent regulators.
We will create 40,000 local jobs, and 10,000 apprenticeships.
We aim to end local youth unemployment, with unprecedented opportunities for the next generation, whatever their background.
We will have better local transport connections than ever before, supporting hard-working residents and local businesses.
A fair deal for everyone.
You may know Virendra Sharma, one of Heathrow’s local MPs in Ealing Southall.
He resigned from the Labour Government in 2009, because he didn’t think those plans for Heathrow expansion were right for the local community.
When Heathrow went back to the drawing board in 2010, we developed our new plans with our neighbours, and for our neighbours.
I am proud that our plans today are a world away from those previous proposals.
And this year, after we accepted – and in many cases exceeded – the Airports Commission conditions, Virendra decided that we had finally got the balance right.
And now he stands with hundreds of his Westminster colleagues, in calling for a greenlight for Heathrow.
He knows expansion will make his constituency stronger, and fairer.
Because Heathrow expansion is no longer a choice between the environment and the economy.
It will deliver for both.
And it will deliver for the areas that need it most.
You don’t have to take our word for it.
Ask the TUC, regional chambers of commerce, the FSB, regional airports, the Freight Trade Association.
All groups who champion the interests of hard-working people, and of businesses large and small across the UK.
For this reason, and for these people, we cannot wait until 2030 to get the benefit of Heathrow expansion.
We’ve heard the Prime Minister’s vision, and we need to act now, to help her deliver a fairer Britain.
We’ve seen the challenge of Brexit, and we need to act now, to deliver a stronger Britain.
That is why are working to deliver the benefits of Heathrow expansion more quickly, and at lower cost.
So put yourself in the Prime Minister’s shoes.
You’ve got a crowded in-tray, you need to act decisively to deliver a strong and fair Brexit Britain.
On one critical issue the hard work has already been done.
The decision is ready to be made. And across every metric – in every scenario – the contrast is stark.
Stronger with Heathrow, connecting to 40 new long haul destinations, sending a confident message that Britain is open to the world…
… weaker without, risking the economy on holiday destinations.
Stronger with Heathrow, keeping control of our own supply routes, connecting British exporters and their goods to new emerging markets, …
…weaker without, falling behind, dependent on others, and squandering the opportunities of Brexit.
Fairer with Heathrow, connecting the whole country to global growth, and creating 180,000 jobs across Britain
… Unbalanced without, concentrating wealth in the South East.
The answer is obvious
It’s spelled out in the Airports Commission’s report.
It’s got more support in Parliament than any other option.
It’s made more urgent by Brexit.
And it helps the Prime Minister meet her objective of creating a fairer, stronger country – with jobs and opportunity in every nation and region.
That’s why Heathrow is the right choice.