Expert Insight

  • Ask the panel: Heathrow Airport expansion - effect on North West

Ask the panel: How will Heathrow’s expansion affect the North West?

Ask the panel: What effect will Heathrow Airport’s expansions have on the North West?

The government has approved the development of a third runway at Heathrow Airport – a move which, according to its supporters, will have a major impact on the North West economy by helping businesses reach an additional 40 long-haul destinations. With a final decision on the development expected in the winter of 2017/18, we ask a panel of experts what this really means for the region.

What effect is the expansion of Heathrow Airport likely to have on the North West?

Neil Clark
commercial director and co-owner, Evoke Creative

“The new runway is a bold statement that Britain is very much outward looking and open for trade internationally, although it will likely be years before construction work is finished.

“Based in Wirral, we are blessed with Liverpool John Lennon Airport on our doorstep and Manchester Airport within easy reach.

“The new direct flights from Manchester to China which launched earlier this year, along with more frequent flights to mainland USA, have facilitated a number of new contract wins in these territories already.

“Along with making it easier to take our exports around the globe, the ability for firms to bring the likes of potential customers and distribution partners directly to the North West – cutting out the middleman of London – lends strength to the region’s credibility as a destination for doing business.”

Andrew McFarlane
director and head of the North West offices, Colliers

“The performance of regional economies and that of London are inextricably linked and mutually beneficial – so for the North West to be strong, London needs to be strong and vice-versa. Whatever needs to be done for our regions and/or the capital to maintain and enhance their economic positions and influence at home and abroad, has to be done.

“Such a relationship is also enjoyed by the nation’s airports – hence those at Manchester and Liverpool have to be bigger, stronger and better in terms of destinations served, passenger numbers, freight transport and related essential infrastructure to ensure they continue to be economic hubs, attracting and creating jobs, investment, trade and growth both domestically and internationally.”

Keith Hanshaw
managing director & master craftsman, The Leather Satchel Co.

“There’s no doubt the London hub needs to be able to handle more traffic. If the Northern Powerhouse is to succeed, we must increase the amount of exports that can be passed onto long-haul trade routes, and most traffic goes through London.

“The government must ensure regional airports (especially in the North West) are also boosted and not ignored. Manchester has direct flights into Shanghai, but it’s not normally used as a long-haul trade route because key regional airports are being ignored. These could unlock huge potential for the North if the government is willing to invest as strongly in them.

“Reports have shown investment into Manchester Airport would see a 600% return in growth over the same money being invested in Heathrow. Manchester Airport was a cornerstone to Osbourne’s long-term plan to make the North West the gateway to the Northern Powerhouse, but seems to have been forgotten about under this new leadership.”

James Blake
CEO, Hello Soda – a Northern Powerhouse Partnership Programme member

“As a UK business operating globally, we are supportive of any expansion that benefits our economy. Since the news of Brexit, it is more important than ever that the UK is not only open to operating on a worldwide scale, but that we are actively facilitating global growth. The Heathrow expansion is expected to boost the economy by billions of pounds by increasing the number of flights by 50%.

“As a business with offices on three continents and clients over five, we are constantly travelling. Increased flights will make it easier for us to export our services to other countries and therefore feel that the third runway is an opportunity that we really shouldn’t miss out on. Connectivity is vital for the UK economy to thrive and this expansion will benefit all global businesses in the UK including the North West, not just those in London.”