The Government’s draft Airports National Policy Statement is supported by Liverpool John Lennon Airport – LJLA – as the paper recognised the importance of a link between LJLA and Heathrow upon its expansion.
Liverpool Airport has always been a strong supporter of Heathrow’s proposed expansion plans, which it believes is the better choice, not only for the region, but also for the UK.
The Statement supports new domestic air links between Heathrow and what it calls ‘under served’ UK regions, including Liverpool. If the expansion plans are granted, Heathrow will be expected to increase its domestic UK routes by six, taking it up to fourteen in total.
Speaking about the Airports National Policy Statement, which is now open for consultation, Andrew Cornish, CEO of Liverpool John Lennon Airport commented, “Liverpool John Lennon Airport welcomes this draft Airports National Policy Statement and that the Government has clearly set out that it will hold Heathrow Airport to account on securing a number of new domestic routes to regions currently underserved including Liverpool, as part of the expansion of Heathrow and the new capacity created by a third runway.
We have been a long-time supporter of Heathrow’s plans for a third runway and will respond to the Government’s consultation supporting the need to secure these new domestic links, knowing that regional airports such as Liverpool can benefit by the future opening up of access to the UK’s hub airport for improved worldwide connectivity”.
Also commenting on the Statement is Virgin Atlantic CEO Craig Kreeger, who said, “We support Heathrow expansion provided that it delivers for passengers a transformative increase in airline competition and genuine value for money. We will study the Government’s National Policy Statement to ensure its provisions do just that.
“Expansion is an exciting, once in a generation opportunity to significantly increase airline competition at the UK’s hub airport. When one airline group has a stranglehold on almost 60% of the slots at the airport, it inevitably limits the amount of competition that Virgin Atlantic and other carriers can provide. If the full benefits of the new runway are to be realised, new capacity must be allocated in a way that brings more choice, lower fares and better service for customers.
“We are pleased that the Government, the CAA and the airport are talking about the importance of affordability, but the devil will be in the detail and strict cost control is absolutely vital. With passenger charges at Heathrow already the highest in the world, it is simply untenable to increase them further to fund expansion. As tens of millions more passengers start using the airport when the runway opens, our customers would expect charges to fall over time to more internationally competitive levels.”