Leeds business leaders welcome Heathrow report

A British Airways plane takes off from Heathrow airport.
A British Airways plane takes off from Heathrow airport.

Business leaders in Leeds have welcomed a long-awaited report which recommends building a third runway at Heathrow, saying it could bring a huge boost to the county.

And they urged the Government to press ahead and build the runway as quickly as possible - despite the report sparking huge protests.

After three years of investigation, the Airports Commission yesterday said Heathrow was best placed to provide “urgently required” capacity.

The commission opted for a new, full-length runway at Heathrow rather than expanding one of the airport’s current runways or building a new one at Gatwick.

If the Government makes an early decision, a third runway could be open by 2026, said Commission chairman Sir Howard Davies.

The recommendation was welcomed by Leeds Chamber president, Gerald Jennings, who said: “It is now clear there can only be one solution that is right for Yorkshire, and right for Britain.

“Only a third runway at Heathrow will deliver for the future vibrancy and growth of the region.

“However, for the full benefit to be felt across our region we now need firm commitment from Heathrow to guaranteed “slots” (a minimum of four per day) for connections to Leeds Bradford International Airport as part of the expansion.

“This will ensure that businesses in our region have continued access to international markets and customers through the UK’s only hub airport.”

Last month a consortium of groups including the Leeds Chamber, Leeds Bradford Airport and Leeds Council issued a plea for the Heathrow runway to go ahead.

They said expansion at Heathrow will provide an additional 11,200 jobs and a potential £9bn to the Yorkshire economy alone.