South East airports expansion gets support

A campaign to support airport expansion proposals across the South East, called ‘Let Britain Fly’, has the support of more than 100 major businesses.

The hotly debated topic of expanding the UK’s airports – before aviation business is lost to rapidly expanding European based hubs and hubs in the Middle East – is usually supported, or opposed, by MPs, aviation heads and airports. However, major businesses have now shown their support. And vocally, with no holds barred, citing comments like ‘the UK will become a second rate economy’ unless the air capacity problem is resolved, and quickly.

The businesses are supporting the expansion of UK airspace in general, rather than showing out-and-out support for one of the many plans currently on the table – such as, Heathrow’s bid to build a third runway, Gatwick’s bid to build a second runway and Boris Johnson’s bid to create a brand new airport hub, nicknamed ‘Boris Island’.

Big city business leaders backing the ‘Let Britain Fly’ campaign include Sir Marin Sorrell of WPP, George Weston of Associated British Foods, Aggreko’s Rupert Soames and Lord Wolfson of Next, claiming that the UK must remain competitive and continue as a global business centre. Something that many figures backing the UK aviation expansion say is already at risk. Other high street and household names supporting the campaign include Boots UK, Dixons, John Lewis, Land Securities, Lloyds Banking Group and Hilton Worldwide.

In an interview with the Telegraph, Sir Martin Sorrell  said: “We live in a world where connectivity is key – not only in digital but also in physical terms. This means we urgently need MPs to put our long-term national interest ahead of short-term politics”.

Whilst Chief Executive of Business Group, London First, Baroness Jo Valentine, said: “After 50 years of stop-start government mismanagement of our airport infrastructure, the Airports Commission represents the final call for politicians of all parties to step up and sort out the problem.”

At the end of the year, the Government will receive a first draft report from its the Davies Commission. A final report, with complete recommendations to overcome the UK’s air capacity problems, will be submitted by the Davis Commission after the next General Election in 2015.

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