A survey of SEGRO plc customers has found overwhelming support for expansion at the UK’s hub airport with 84% of those surveyed backing Heathrow over Gatwick.
The results of the independently commissioned survey formed part of SEGRO’s submission to the Airports Commission public consultation on whether additional capacity should be developed at Heathrow or Gatwick.
The survey of 101 SEGRO customers, who between them employ over 20,500 people, established views on a range of issues including the importance of aviation expansion to businesses, how the different options might affect business growth and, ultimately, which option firms favour.
SEGRO has a joint venture with Aviva Investors, Airport Property Partnership (APP), which owns and manages air cargo facilities at Gatwick, Stansted and Heathrow airports, totalling about 4.1m sq ft.
Together with SEGRO’s wholly owned portfolio, this extends up to 19 million sq. ft. of commercial space within 10 miles of Heathrow providing accommodation for customers from a wide range of industries and sectors.
SEGRO’s poll also suggests that their customers believe Heathrow expansion would be good for local business, with 96% agreeing that airport expansion could be beneficial to businesses operating in the local area.
46% said that, if Heathrow expanded, they would grow their businesses. This is compared with only 13% of customers (also based at Heathrow) who would expand operations if expansion took place at Gatwick.
Unsurpringly, 60% of those surveyed cited proximity to Heathrow as the key reason for being based where they are.
Commenting on the results of the poll, the Chief Executive of SEGRO, David Sleath, said: “Heathrow airport plays an important role in the UK’s economic success, but capacity constraints means that our position as a leading trade and inward investment nation is under threat. For Britain to succeed in the global economy, we must expand Heathrow and this is a view shared by an overwhelming majority of our customers – 84% of those businesses taking part in our survey expressed a preference for Heathrow.
“It is absolutely vital that politicians understand the strength of feeling from the business community. 97% of our customers surveyed say that airport expansion is important for the long term economic success of the UK. I therefore urge all parties to agree to take a decision on airport expansion as quickly as possible after Howard Davies submits his report. ”
Louis Kunzig, Managing Director of manufacturer at Sciaky, a SEGRO customer, explained the importance of Heathrow expansion to his business: “I support a third runway at Heathrow as it will mean that we can continue to export our equipment to customers all over the world to meet tight deadlines, giving us a crucial competitive advantage. Expansion would also ensure we can have direct routes to emerging markets where the majority of growth is now happening.”