Heathrow holds business summit in Gateshead

Heathrow holds business summit in Gateshead

Aviation minister Lord Callanan and shadow transport secretary for Transport Andy McDonald will cross the political divide as Heathrow prepares the groundwork for its multi-billion pound expansion.

They are appearing together in Gateshead today at the airport’s first business summit in the north-east of England.

It is the first time since the government decision almost a year ago backing a third runway at Heathrow that the two major political parties have jointly recognised the impact the hub can have on rebalancing growth and boosting productivity outside London and the south-east.

Heathrow is partnering with the North East England Chamber of Commerce to boost the number of local small businesses in its supply chain.

It comes as the airport looks to begin planning and building a new runway and terminal facilities – projects which are forecast to create up to 5,100 new jobs and drive £4 billion of growth for the north-east.

Lord Callanan said: “As someone who was born and bred in the north-east, I have great pride in the extraordinary wealth of talent and skills this region has to offer.

“As aviation minister, I am aware of the vital role Heathrow has to play in driving growth across the UK, through connecting local businesses with international markets and helping people keep in touch with friends and family around the world.”

McDonald said: “Our aviation sector is key to securing the international connectivity necessary for the UK to remain an outward-looking trading nation, and it’s crucial that the whole of the country participates in this success.

“The north-east has the skills, the capacity and the enthusiasm to play a major role in the future developments in our aviation sector – including in expanding Heathrow.

“Therefore, it is central to Labour’s approach that our regional economies make their full contributions to and derive direct benefit from these projects, and the Heathrow business summit is an ideal opportunity for the north-east to showcase our regional offer.”

North East England Chamber of Commerce chief executive, James Ramsbotham, said: “As a global region, North East England relies on its air connectivity.

“With up to six flights a day from Newcastle to Heathrow, expansion of the UK’s hub airport will secure these links and give the capacity needed for growth in the future.

“Couple this with the government’s emerging aviation strategy and there is a real opportunity to build the competitiveness of our regional airports while growing the UK network as a whole.”

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