Why Heathrow?
Why Heathrow?

The global race

The UK is in the middle of a global race for long-haul connections to emerging economies in Asia and South America. Britain’s competitive position to these connections is under threat from other expanding European hubs.

Heathrow’s expansion will allow Britain to compete in this global race, with routes to up to 40 new destinations, including important emerging cities in China.

This is essential as the global economy is changing. Most economic growth over the next 40 years will come from Asia, North America and Latin America while traditional markets in Europe face a lower growth future.

Our European competitors have capacity to take advantage of this – Britain does not. If airlines cannot get slots at Heathrow they do not go to other London airports, they hub elsewhere in Europe.

Percentage of capacity utilised shown in brackets (ATM capacity).


98% London

British Airways/

62% Amsterdam


66% Frankfurt-Main

Lufthansa/Star Alliance

71% Paris Charles
de Gaulle

Air France/SkyTeam

54% Madrid Barajas


This need to create more long-haul connections is why the UK needs more hub capacity. The UK is in a global race to improve links with emerging economies and deliver the trade, jobs and economic growth that will otherwise go to international competitors.

Securing Britain’s economic future – the prize to be won…

Continuing to have one of the world’s best connected hub airports in the UK is vital to supporting economic growth. In fact, the Airports Commission estimates up to £211bn in economic benefits and up to 180,000 jobs across the UK will be created with Heathrow expansion.



This prize to be won for the UK with expansion will be largely fueled by the huge economic benefits new frequent connections with emerging economies in China and South America will bring.

Dubai, Istanbul and others are investing huge sums to capture the hub connectivity Britain has enjoyed for so long.

As an island trading nation, connectivity has been central to the UK’s global trading position over the past three hundred years, and is now more essential than ever.

Willie Walsh, IAG CEO: “How they must be laughing in Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Dubai and Beijing”

Willie Walsh, Former British Airways CEO and now CEO of their parent company the International Airports Group, has recently confirmed his business will look at expanding elsewhere if no action is taken on expanding Heathrow (Source: The Daily Mail)

“How they must be laughing in Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Dubai and Beijing. These cities all have governments that value aviation’s contribution to their economies.”

“They’ve ensured their airports built the necessary infrastructure to encourage the industry’s growth, and connect their countries to a global economy.”

“As for Britain, we’re a small island, and this Government looks set to make us even smaller on the world stage. Our leaders bestride the world saying the UK is open for business, but their actions do not match the rhetoric.”

“If the Government continues to dither over a new runway, then I’ll move my business elsewhere. We now have airlines in Dublin and Madrid, and can expand our business there, supporting the strengthening Irish and Spanish economies.”

Sources: Heathrow Airport North West Runway: Business Case and Sustainability Assessment (Airports Commission, 2014), Impact of airport expansion options on competition and choice (Frontier Economics, 2014)

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