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The expansion of Heathrow is being backed by a group of 32 UK regional airports.
The Regional & Business Airports Group (Raba) has written to transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin, calling on the government to support a third runway at the west London hub.
The support from the organisation brings the number of regional airports backing Heathrow’s campaign for a third runway to 37. Aberdeen, Leeds Bradford, Glasgow, Liverpool and Newcastle have all previously backed Heathrow’s expansion plans.
The Airports Commission recommended in July that Heathrow should be allowed to expand, rather than Gatwick.
But International Airlines Group chief executive, Willie Walsh, yesterday criticised the scheme's "outrageous" forecast costs.
John Spooner, the chairman of Raba, which represents smaller airports such as Exeter, Newquay and Southend, said in the letter: “Throughout the course of the Airports Commission process and in recent months while the government has been considering its recommendations, Raba has had extensive engagement with both scheme promoters.
“As a result of that engagement and careful consideration by our membership, we write to confirm to you that the expansion of Heathrow airport is the best solution for UK aviation and for UK regional growth.”
He added: “Some opponents of expansion at Heathrow have chosen to misrepresent the findings of the Airports Commission and suggest that expansion will lead to the further degradation of domestic connectivity to the UK’s hub airport. In fact, the opposite is true: expansion at Heathrow can reverse the decline in domestic connectivity.”
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