As Heathrow and Gatwick battle it out for expansion, a member of the North East Chamber of Commerce says the air capacity and expansion issue should be address across the UK, not just the South East.
James Ramsbotham says that the North East is the only region that exports more than it imports, and that it is soon becoming a ‘global’ North East area.
As trade thrives in digital creative industries, life sciences and advanced manufacturing, the region has exported £310 million of goods out of Newcastle Airport alone, a colossal increase of £290 million in the last ten years!
Mr Ramsbotham says that the Government’s inability to make a decision over airport expansion at either Heathrow or Gatwick means investors in the North East cannot plan ahead or develop connections.
And it’s not just cargo that is booming in the North East. Last year 500,000 passengers flew between North East airports to Heathrow to take connecting flights, which equates to six flights per day. Something that, should air capacity, and potential be recognised as a priority, it could see the UK aviation industry bring in even greater financial benefits to the UK economy. Not to mention the fact that travellers want to fly from their local airport.
Mr Ramsbotham warns that should Heathrow reach capacity, domestic flights such as these could be vulnerable as Heathrow eyes up more profitable, coveted routes. This would result in airlines looking to fly from the North East directly to other major European hubs, direct competitors to Heathrow and Gatwick, such as Amsterdam and Paris.