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21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
A group of business leaders have called the government’s lack of response to a report on airport expansion “unacceptable”.
Campaign group Let Britain Fly published a letter in the Sunday Times calling on the government to issue a response to the Airport Commission’s interim report.
The letter was signed by around 50 business leaders including bosses of Dixons, Thomas Cook, House of Fraser and Harrods.
The group has said “political procrastination” on a decision to build new runways is “strangling” the long-term growth potential of the British economy.
More than six months ago the Airports Commission set out clear recommendations in its report on steps to increase capacity, with the key recommendation being that London needs at least one new runway.
The options include adding a third runway at Heathrow, lengthening an existing runway at Heathrow, and a new runway at Gatwick. A decision is expected after the next general election.
In the letter, Let Britain Fly it said the lack of an official government response “looks like wavering”.
“We were delighted the government took on board the concerns of the business community two years ago and established the Airports Commission.
“It should now follow through with the commitments it made, and take the tough decisions that Britain needs if it is to retain its international economic competitiveness.
“It is unacceptable that the government has thus far not responded to the commission’s clear recommendations."
A department for transport spokesperson told the BBC: "We are making progress delivering on the Airports Commission's key recommendations in its interim report, including improving rail access to Gatwick and establishing the CAA-led Senior Delivery Group to drive forward airspace reform.
"These proposals are not about a quick fix, but about what can be done to make the most of existing airport infrastructure over the short to medium term."
Last week ( July 7) Virgin founder Richard Branson has called for both Heathrow and Gatwick to build two new international runways each.