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Liverpool John Lennon Airport is one of five airports from across the UK who have signed up to back Heathrow Airport’s expansion plans as the “best proposal for the country” and urged others to follow their lead.

In an open letter to the Airport Commission, due to give its verdict in the summer of 2015, Liverpool along with Aberdeen, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford and Newcastle airports have argued that the so called ‘London Airports debate’ is not just about London but about the aviation industry as a whole.

Liverpool’s need is perhaps the greatest since it does not currently have a service to either a UK or European hub airport and last saw a service to Heathrow in 1992. Regional airports including Liverpool need to access global connectivity to better meet the needs of the regions they serve.

Capacity constraints in the South East have meant that the opportunity for regional airports such as Liverpool to re-establish regular flights to a London hub airport has simply not existed for some time. However the renaissance of the Liverpool City Region has meant that the demand for improved global connectivity is greater now than at any point in the past 20 years. With so many developments and improvements to showcase across the region and more demand for international business and leisure travel, the lack of global connectivity remains and hinders the region’s greater potential for success in an internationally competitive market.

Demand for a link to a hub airport such as Heathrow is self-evident with analysis of the latest CAA passenger survey data showing that in 2013 over 1.1 million passengers from Liverpool John Lennon Airport’s core catchment area, took a connecting flight from and to other UK Airports, not having the opportunity to connect via Liverpool.

An expanded Heathrow would offer the opportunity for UK airports such as Liverpool, to further grow their networks, something that is crucial for generating growth across the whole county, not just London and the south east.

Full text of the letter from the UK airports to Sir Howard Davies:

Dear Sir Howard,

The so-called London Airports debate is not about London at all. It is about the aviation industry as a whole – an industry that employs 960,000 people – boosting growth across the UK and contributing £52bn to the UK economy. Airports are an integral part of local economies; our growth generates growth in our regions.

We are continually looking to grow our route networks – by starting new routes to airports in cities and countries that are destinations in their own right, and by connecting to hub airports to allow our passengers to transfer on to a wider variety of long-haul destinations. But the UK’s hub airport, Heathrow, is full. This is limiting the slots available for domestic routes and onward connections, and limiting choice for our passengers.

The health of the UK aviation industry is not about the success of one airport, but the success of all our airports, each performing a vital role. Heathrow’s role is as the UK’s hub, one of only six worldwide with more than 50 long haul routes and expansion there would create over 200,000 more slots. For expansion to benefit the whole country there must be a mechanism in place to strengthen and secure domestic connections to the UK’s hub. We will be backing Heathrow expansion in the Airports Commission consultation as the right choice for the whole of the UK.

Yours sincerely,

Carol Benzie, Managing Director, Aberdeen International Airport
Amanda McMillan, Managing Director, Glasgow Airport
John Parkin, CEO, Leeds Bradford International Airport
Andrew Cornish, CEO, Liverpool John Lennon Airport
David Laws, CEO, Newcastle Airport

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