“London First” gets their letter, signed by over 40 business people, in the Sunday Times

This is a second letter, this time in the Sunday Times, with a load of business people adding their voice to the lobby group, London First. They are asking Justine Greening to include Heathrow in the forthcoming aviation consultation.  What they really want is a third runway at Heathrow.  If needs be, they say extra noise from a new Heathrow runway or Heathrow expansion should be mitigated. The myth is again pushed that – in some unexplained way – the UK will suffer economically if there are not enough direct flights to China. There is never any evidence presented to back this up.  In reality, Heathrow has excellent connections to the world. Where there are few flights to a destination, it is because there is not enough demand. Many of Heathrow’s flights are predominantly filled with leisure travellers, eg. the approximately 21 flights per day to Miami from Heathrow.

[The other letter is to the Sunday Telegraph.                                        See Sunday Telegraph letter ]

How many flights does Heathrow actually have to the emerging economies?

March 5, 2012    There have been letters in the Sunday Times and in the Sunday Telegraph from lists of business people, in support of airport expansion in the south east, and demanding reconsideration of a third runway at Heathrow.  Are there really not enough flights to emerging economies from Heathrow? Are the numbers to some destinations low just because there really is not the demand (however much UK business might like there to be the demand)?  We investigate how many flights there actually are from Heathrow already…


The Sunday Times letter:

Plea for new runway at Heathrow

by Karl West
 4 March 2012 (Sunday Times)
MORE than 40 top businessmen have signed a letter urging the government to build a new runway at Heathrow.

Francis Salway, chief executive of Land Securities; Sir Michael Rake, BT chairman; Chris Grigg, chief executive of British Land; and property developers Irvine Sellar and George Iacobescu are some big names behind the campaign.

London First, the lobby group for the capital’s businesses, wrote to Justine Greening, transport secretary, asking her to include a third runway at Heathrow in a forthcoming consultation on Britain’s hub airport capacity.

Business leaders believe poor air links to China, India and other emerging markets put Britain at a disadvantage.

Salway said: “I have become increasingly alarmed that in key areas like aviation we are now failing to keep pace.”

The coalition has ruled out new runways in southeast England, citing environmental concerns. The consultation will review all options for extending airport capacity except expanding Heathrow.

One option that will be considered is a proposal, championed by Boris Johnson, mayor of London, to build a new £50 billion airport in the Thames estuary.

The full letter and signatories

Dear Secretary of State for Transport

International air links are critical to the UK’s economic success. Our ability to win new markets in Latin America, Asia and the Far East against fierce global competition relies heavily on our ability to fly direct and establish trade. But we have fewer weekly flights than our European rivals to seven of the eight growth economies identified by the IMF and our national hub airport — Heathrow is full. And despite forecasting that in a little over fifteen years all of London’s other major airports will also be full, Government has so far ruled out growth at any of them. This puts the UK increasingly at a competitive disadvantage.

So while we welcome the Government’s review of its aviation policy, its credibility rests on examining all options to meet the vital need for more flight capacity in the short and medium term (next 15 years) as well as in the longer term. The UK needs more hub capacity to support economic growth now, not just in 20 to 30 years’ time. Ruling out growth at London’s major airports — and above all at our national hub, Heathrow — cannot be the right starting point.

Any growth at Heathrow would, of course, have a local environmental impact, principally through increased noise. Action can, and must, be taken to mitigate this. It may be that the review would conclude that the environmental impact would outweigh the national benefits from growth — but this option should be transparently evaluated, not arbitrarily ruled out. We therefore call on government to include the option of expanding Heathrow in its review, alongside all others, and to make its assessment on the basis of the best available evidence. Only that way can aviation policy be put on a more rational and sustainable footing.

Baroness Jo Valentine, chief executive, London First
John Vincent, director of strategic planning and advisory, AECOM
Jay Marciano, president and chief executive, AEG Europe
Surinder Arora, chairman, Arora Hotels Limited
David Tonkin, regional managing director, UK, Atkins
Chris Elliott, managing director of Barclays Infrastructure Funds, Barclays Bank
Tony Pidgley, chairman, Berkeley Group
Chris Grigg, chief executive, British Land
Mike Rake, chairman, BT Group
Paul Westbury, chief executive, Buro Happold
Ian Durant, chairman, Capital & Counties Properties
George Iacobescu, chairman and chief executive, Canary Wharf Group
Robin Hall, chairman, Cinven
Stuart Fraser, chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee, City of London
Des Gunewardena, chairman and chief executive, D & D London
Malcolm Sweeting, senior partner, Clifford Chance
Mike Redican, managing director, Deutsche Bank AG London
Julian Barwick, executive director, Development Securities
Kevin Murphy, chief executive, ExCeL
Mark Elborne, president and chief executive, GE UK, GE
Toby Courtauld, chief executive, Great Portland Estates
Peter Vernon, chief executive — Britain and Ireland, Grosvenor
Jonathan Scott, senior partner, Herbert Smith
Ian Carter, president of global operations, Hilton International
Dave White, managing director, ITRM
George Kessler CBE, group deputy chairman, Kesslers International
Francis Salway, chief executive, Land Securities
Peter Robinson, chairman, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP
Malcolm Gillies, vice chancellor, London Metropolitan University
Charlie Millard, director and head of office, M Moser Associates
Mark Reynolds, deputy chief executive, Mace
Martin Roberts, partner and head of London office, Pinsent Masons
Ray Auvray, executive chairman, Prospects
John Rhodes, senior director, Quod
Jasminder Singh, chairman, Radisson Edwardian Hotels
Andrew Walters, chief executive, Regional Airports
Nigel Rich CBE, chairman, Segro
Irvine Sellar, chairman, Sellar
Andreas Markides, chairman, SKM Colin Buchanan
Gareth Pearce, chairman, Smith & Williamson
Tim Hancock, managing director, Terence O’Rourke
Mike Nichols, founder and chairman, The Nichols Group
William McKee, chairman, TIlfen Land
Vincent Clancy, chief executive, Turner & Townsend
Malcolm Grant, president and provost, UCL

Hugh Seaborn, chief executive, Cadogan Estates