Would an expansion of Heathrow Airport be good for Sheffield City Region businesses?
That will be the question debated at a special event organised by the British Chambers of Commerce in association with Heathrow Airport.
A national programme of events has been arranged to hear business opinion on the aviation capacity debate.
Sheffield Chamber of Commerce will host this region’s “One Hub or None” seminar on the issue on September 11.
New research from Frontier Economics has shown the lack of capacity at Heathrow is already costing the UK up to £14bn a year in lost trade and this figure could rise to £26bn a year by 2030.
Heathrow’s expansion plans have also been backed by EEF – the manufacturers’ organisation – as it will allow the airport to double cargo freight capacity.
This, the EEF says, will ensure Britain’s manufacturers have a competitive advantage when it comes to accessing new export markets.
Terry Scuoler, chief executive of EEF, said:
“Heathrow is not just a passenger hub, but a global freight hub for export-intensive UK manufacturers.
“The strength of Heathrow lies in passengers and freight being combined and served by the wide range and quantity of long-haul flights.
“Timely expansion at Heathrow is crucial to ensure the sustainable growth of UK exports.”
But Tim Hale, chair of the Sheffield Chamber Transport Forum and chairman of local business Champion Hire Ltd, said:
“I feel that a further expansion of Heathrow is a crazy idea, as it will further concentrate resources in the south once again.
“Doncaster Sheffield Airport has an enormous runway, and room for massive expansion of freight and passengers.
“It would be an appalling dereliction of opportunity nationally if this was not utilised more.”
Participants at the Sheffield debate will hear what can be done to close the £14bn trade deficit gap, explore why a hub airport is different and valuable to the UK, as well put their questions to Heathrow Airport’s executives and share their opinion on how this debate affects local business.
Entry to the breakfast event, which runs from 7:45am until 10am, is free.
For more information visit www.scci.org.uk/events or call 0114 201 8888.