New research shows business support for a 3rd runway to be less than the aviation industry claims

12.10.2008   (HACAN press release)  

"Politicians should not be fooled into thinking there is a groundswell of support
amongst business for expansion at Heathrow"


Business support for a third runway at Heathrow is unlikely to be as strong as
the aviation industry claims.   That is the conclusion of new research published
today (1).   The research, carried out by the campaign groups NoTRAG (No Third Runway Action
Group) and HACAN, assessed the 100 businesses who came out publicly in support
of a third runway in a national newspaper advertisement sponsored by the pro-expansion
group Future Heathrow (2).



The research showed that of the 100 ‘businesses’, 53 have clients in, or connections
with, the aviation industry or would stand a chance of getting work if expansion
took place.   Eight of these firms have a link with the BAA Chairman, Sir Nigel
Rudd.   A further 13 are trade associations.   Three are trade unions.   That just
leaves 31, of which twelve are legal firms, advertising agencies or finance houses.  
That simply leaves 19 which may not have a financial interest in the expansion
of Heathrow.



The businesses which support expansion include:



  • Amey, Owned by Spanish infrastructure services company of Ferrovial, owners of BAA




    Balfour Beatty, the giant construction firm which has had a contract with BAA since 1999.




  • Clifford Chance, the upmarket legal firm which is the market leader in the aircraft leasing
    and financing sector.




  • Hilton Hotels, which own airport hotels




  • JC Decaux, the billboard advertising firm which has a huge contract with BAA




  • Mace, the consultancy which was the project leader on British Airway’s Waterside HQ.




  • Pendragon whose non-executive chairman is BAA chairman Nigel Rudd


The new research also looked at the Corporate Social Responsibility policies
of the firms which signed the advert.   It found that many of them had policies
which seemed to sit strangely with their support for Heathrow expansion (3).



John Stewart, the Chair of HACAN, said, "The aviation industry has made a big
deal about its business support.   Our research shows that it is self-interest
not the national economic interest which drives most of the firms which have publicly
backed a 3rd runway.   What is really significant is the huge number of businesses that did
not sign up to the Future Heathrow advert.   The message is clear.   Most businesses
do not regard a third runway as essential for economic prosperity.   It add weights
to the view that the Conservatives were right to announce they would scrap plans
for a third runway."



Geraldine Nicholson, the Chair of NoTRAG, said, "We carried out this research
very carefully.   We suspect that many more of the organisations on the list have
connections with the aviation industry but we only included them if were sure
of our facts.   The advert, which appeared in a blaze of publicity in many newspapers
last month, was packed full of firms who would make money out of a third runway.  
It had little to do with the national economic interest.   Politicians should not
be fooled into thinking there is a groundswell of support amongst business for
expansion at Heathrow.   There is not."


In addition, on the list of companies without links, British American Tobacco
is listed.   Of course, their chairman is Martin Broughton, ex BA.   So there is
a link there too.




Notes for Editors:



(1).   The research is attached



(2).   The full page national advert appeared in a number of national newspapers on
15th September.  There were  actually 101 names on the list but that included the
lobby group which sponsored the advert Future Herathrow.



(3).   Some examples are outlined in the report



For further information:



John Stewart on 0207 737 6641; 07957385650



Geraldine Nicholson on 01895 854519 or 07710523369



Press release dated 12/10/08