Business chiefs attack government over airport procrastination

Business chiefs attack government over airport procrastination

Fifty business chiefs, including Thomas Cook chief executive Harriet Green (pictured), have attacked the government’s aviation policy, accusing ministers of a “lack of political leadership” that risks “strangling” growth.

They say it is “unacceptable” that the government has not responded to the Airports Commission’s key recommendation that at least one new runway needs to be built in southeast England.

In a letter to the Sunday Times, the business chiefs said they have grown increasingly frustrated at the government’s failure to respond to the findings of the Airports Commission, saying the issue “must be addressed with urgency”.

They described the airports issue as “one of strategic national importance”.

“Six months have passed since the commission made its interim report, and the lack of an official government response looks like wavering,” the letter states.

“Political procrastination on a decision to build new runways is strangling the long-term growth potential of the British economy.

“More than 20 emerging market destinations are served by daily flights from other European cities, but not from London. It is lack of political leadership that is causing Britain’s international connectivity to fall behind our competitors.”

Their letter comes as it emerged that a consensus is growing among senior Labour and Liberal Democrat politicians that expanding Gatwick is the only feasible option, the newspaper reported.

Lord Bradshaw, who co-chairs the Lib Dem parliamentary transport committee, has said Gatwick should be allowed to expand if it pays for an upgrade of the Brighton to London rail line.

Airport Commission chairman Sir Howard Davies published an interim report in December stating that a runway would be needed by 2030, with a second “likely” to be required by 2050.

His shortlist of options includes two plans for a third runway at Heathrow and one for a second runway at Gatwick.

Sourced from Travel Weekly

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