In a speech to the Airports Commission, Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye has spelled out the benefits to West London of expanding the airport.
Holland-Kaye said that the Commission acknowledged that expansion at Heathrow could generate up to £211billion of economic growth nationally, and create up to 180,000 new jobs across the UK.
He described the possibility of expansion as “a once in a generation opportunity to transform our region through sustainable growth; skilled jobs for local people, career related training, more apprenticeships, better public spaces, and improved public transport” for West London and the Thames Valley.
Holland-Kaye said that one in 4 jobs in local boroughs depend on the airport, and that many of the large local employers in the region are where they are because Heathrow connects them to world markets, and he discussed how they planned to work with local schools and universities to make sure the children from the region will have the skills to fulfill the 40,000 new jobs needed in an expanded Heathrow.
He also described what might happen to the region’s economy if Heathrow does not expand – the “better, not bigger” option. He maintained that there is a price to not expanding that will be paid in lost jobs and lost opportunities for future generations
He said the Airports Commission’s analysis confirms with a ‘do-nothing’ approach, there would be fewer destinations served by Heathrow. He said this would lead to international businesses being less likely to choose London as a base, and to those that are here starting to leave.
The Commission estimates that within 15 years, Heathrow could employ 14,000 fewer people than today if there is no growth at the airport.
He said the prize from expansion for West London, the Thames Valley, and Surrey was 70,000 new jobs, cutting unemployment by 50 per cent in some areas, and potentially ending youth unemployment in surrounding boroughs.