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Fast-track airports expansion to boost UK – Sunday Times letter

Baroness Jo Valentine signed a letter in this weekend’s Sunday Times, along with other business leaders, calling for political parties to commit themselves, in their manifestos, to a quick decision on airports expansion, guided by the commission’s final recommendation.

The letter reads:

The Airports Commission has completed its final consultation on options for the expansion of UK airports.

We back the Commission’s work but are concerned that unless politicians act swiftly on it recommendations, our economy could lose out to the tune of billions of pounds in trade and investment.

This debate isn’t just about where we lay 3,000 metres of concrete for a runway, it is about how we secure the Britain’s future economic prosperity. The inescapable fact is the UK trades twenty times more with countries with which we have a direct air link and forty per cent of our exports by value go by air.

Our global competitors won’t wait for us. By 2036 the world’s major cities are likely to have built over fifty new runways, providing an additional one billion passenger journeys a year. China alone will have built seventeen new runways, whilst the new Dubai World Central airport will provide more capacity than all of London’s airports combined.

We believe that before the General Election, political parties should commit themselves in their manifestos to a quick decision on airports expansion guided by the Commission’s final recommendation for the good of the country.


George Weston, Chief Executive Officer, Associated British Foods
Paul Kelly, Chief Executive, Selfridges
Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive, London First
John Stewart, Chairman, Legal and General Group
Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive, WPP
Sir George Iacobescu CBE, Chairman, Canary Wharf Group
Mark Preston, Chairman, Grosvenor
Richard Solomans, Chief Executive, InterContinental Hotels Group
Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive, Aberdeen Asset Management
Robert Elliott, Chairman, Linklaters
Victor Chavez, Chief Executive Officer, Thales UK
David Sleath, Chief Executive Officer, SEGRO
Nick Roberts, Chief Executive Officer, Atkins
Surinder Arora, CEO, Arora Holdings
Heather Lishman, Association Manager, ABPCO
Dale Keller, Chief Executive, BARUK
Harold Paisner, Senior Partner, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP
Bob Rothenberg MBE, Blick Rothenberg LLP
Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive, British Hospitality Association
Richard Fursland CBE, CEO, BritishAmerican Business
Chris Grigg, Chief Executive, British Land
Michael Hirst OBE, Chairman, Business Visits and Events Partnership
Hugh Seaborn, Chief Executive, Cadogan
Stephen Catlin, Chairman, Catlin Group
Iain Anderson, Chief Corporate Counsel, Cicero Group
Mark Boleat, Chairman of Policy and Resources Committee, City of London Corporation
Professor Paul Curran, Vice-Chancellor, City University London
John Burns, Chief Executive, Derwent London
Kevin Murphy, Chairman, ExCeL London
Mike Cherry, National Policy Chairman, FSB
Theo de Pencier, Chief Executive, Freight Transport Association
Sue Brown, Senior Managing Director, FTI Consulting
Hugh Bullock, Senior Partner, Gerald Eve LLP
Mike Turner CBE, Chairman, Babcock International Group
Gordon Clark, Country Manager, Global Blue
Toby Courtauld, Chief Executive, Great Portland Estates
Michael Ward, Managing Director, Harrods
Nicola Shaw, Chief Executive Officer, HS1
Michael Spencer, CEO, ICAP
John Lehal, Managing Director, Insight Public Affairs
Simon Walker, Director General, Institute of Directors
George Kessler CBE, Group Deputy Chairman, Kesslers International
Andrew Murphy, Retail Director, John Lewis
Sir Winfried Bischoff
Mark Reynolds, Chief Executive, Mace
James Fennell, Managing Director, Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners
Richard Dickinson, Chief Executive, New West End Company
James Rook, Managing Director, Nimlok
Adrian Shooter CBE, Chairman, Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership
Glen Moreno, Chairman, Pearson
Mark Bensted OBE, Managing Director, Powerday
John Rhodes OBE, Director, Quod
Mark Lancaster, Chairman, SDL
Sue Rimmer OBE, Chief Executive, South Thames College
Tim Hancock, Managing Director, Terence O’Rourke
Rebecca Kane, General Manager, The O2
Bill Moore CBE, Chief Executive Officer, The Portman Estate
Ric Lewis, Chief Executive, Tristan Capital Partners
Vincent Clancy, Chief Executive Officer, Turner & Townsend
Professor Michael Arthur, President and Provost, UCL



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