Expansion of Heathrow would be of most benefit


Within days the Airports Commission will put forward its final recommendations to Government on the location of a new runway in the south east of England.

But this is not just an issue that will affect the south east of England.

The implications of this decision for Northern Ireland are significant.

The commission’s forecast is clear: Heathrow will create up to 5,000 new jobs and up to £3.9bn worth of economic growth.

With ambitions to double our tourism revenues, grow our exports and drive inward investment, international connectivity has never been more important.

However, as long as Heathrow is full, flights to Belfast risk being withdrawn in favour of more lucrative long haul routes.

But if Heathrow expands not only will the link be secured, it will be strengthened.

Existing airlines will have space to grow both their domestic and international networks and easyJet has already indicated it intends to fly from an expanded Heathrow to Belfast International.

Recent discussions with both Heathrow and Gatwick have established that Northern Ireland values all of its connections to London airports.

However, we have concluded that expansion at Heathrow, which offers connections through London to the rest of world, would be most beneficial to Northern Ireland.

Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce

By email