In conversation with John Holland-Kaye
The National Infrastructure Forum will address the critical issue of how to develop the infrastructure Britain needs to thrive in the future.
This of course is right at the front of our mind at Heathrow as Parliament prepares to vote on the bill now tabled for the Government’s plan to expand Heathrow.
Strong transport infrastructure underpins a strong economy, and as the UK comes closer to leaving the EU, it is clear that Britain has never needed connections to the growing economies of the world more than it does today.
Heathrow is Britain’s gateway to the world. Last year we served a record 78 million customers, making us the sixth biggest global airport.
Flights from Heathrow last year moved more than 30% of British exports to non-EU markets.
But Heathrow is full. Key cargo routes from Heathrow to China, India, the United States, Japan and the Middle East can’t accommodate further growth in trade. There simply aren’t slots available for airlines that need and want to come into Heathrow.
These constraints on Britain’s trading links with the world pose significant economic risks. Every year of delay in adding capacity costs billions in lost opportunities for jobs and growth.
By contrast, a new runway at Heathrow will allow the UK to reach up to 40 new long-haul trading destinations, restoring Britain as the global leader.
Since the Government’s decision two years ago to back a new runway at Heathrow, we have been getting on with delivering more viable and sustainable links for all of Britain.
Over the last 18 months we’ve lowered domestic charges by 50 percent, helping to strengthen existing domestic connections to Heathrow, and potential future routes into the UK’s hub.
Expanding Heathrow will unlock more competition and choice for passengers. It will mean more opportunities for airlines to compete on different routes, which will in turn translate into lower fares.
And building Britain’s new runway is not a choice between the economy and the environment.
Our Heathrow 2.0 strategy for sustainable growth sets out an ambitious plan to take a lead in tackling the big issues in aviation such as carbon, noise and emissions.
A major area of focus for us is Air Quality. We aim to become a world leader in reducing emissions from all sources, both on and off airport.
We are listening closely to our local community, so they can help shape the future Heathrow. Earlier this year our first public consultation saw thousands of residents attend 40 events held in local communities.
And we are joining forces with Lord Blunkett’s Skills Taskforce on how to capitalise on this once-in-a-generation chance to develop skilled local jobs.
We also have a major opportunity to develop Heathrow as an integrated transport hub. By developing better rail, bus and coach links to and from the airport we can provide more choice and convenience for colleagues and passengers.
It will help London to create a more sustainable transport network and to deliver its emission reduction targets.
Expansion will deliver stronger, more sustainable connections for Britain, linking businesses and communities from every corner of our country to new markets.
As Brexit unfolds, Britain’s exports and expertise can continue to flow out to the world, while tourists and investment can flow in.
Heathrow expansion will enable the UK to remain a confident, outward-looking trading nation long into the future.
John Holland-Kaye is the Chief Executive Officer at Heathrow Airport, and will be speaking on ‘Delivering sustainability across the infrastructure world’ at the Public Sector Show on 26th June, at ExCel London.