CBI hints at backing for expansion at Heathrow

Lobby group's emphasis on an expanded hub with spare capacity

The CBI has dropped a heavy hint that it favours an expanded Heathrow airport as it called for “spades in the ground” by 2020 to tackle the UK’s shortage of runway capacity and boost trade with emerging markets.

The business lobby group’s push for a single hub airport with the capacity to add new routes comes on the eve of an update from Sir Howard Davies’ Airports Commission. The commission is expected to rule this week on whether the “Boris Island” airport in the Thames estuary advocated by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, will be added its final shortlist of options, which includes extra runways at either Heathrow or Gatwick.

The CBI has not given an explicit verdict on its preferred option, but its emphasis on an expanded hub with spare capacity and emphasis on speedy action following Sir Howard’s final report next summer suggests a third runway at Heathrow.

The CBI said hub airports were best placed to deliver new routes to emerging markets, drawing on both the local population and transfer passengers arriving from other destinations. Citing research by the consultancy Steer Davies Gleave, it said that just eight new routes to emerging markets could generate £1bn a year in trade for the UK – crucial when the Chancellor is struggling to meet a target to double exports to £1trn by 2020.

Heathrow’s capacity is already full and it is slipping behind European competitors who are creating new routes to airports including Xiamen in China and Recife in Brazil, as well as other emerging economies such as Chile and Indonesia.

The CBI said the commission needed to make a strong political and economic case for action in the next parliament, with a schedule that delivers spades in the ground by 2020, as well as a timetable for weighing up extra capacity beyond 2030 to prevent another capacity crunch.

Katja Hall, CBI deputy director general, said: “The Chancellor has set businesses ambitious targets for increasing exports, and there is simply no way of achieving these goals without upping our game in emerging markets.

“Our analysis last year demonstrated that connectivity is the lifeblood of trade, but it also highlighted that the UK is already falling behind, so every day we delay making a decision makes matters worse.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links