GTMC CEO Paul Wait has said there is “massive” support for expanding Heathrow airport among the business travel industry.
Speaking to reporters at the organisation’s AGM yesterday Wait said there is more support for Heathrow than expanding Gatwick because of the need for more direct long-haul services.
“Travellers are increasingly using international hubs outside the UK because connectivity to the UK regions is not what it should be,” said Wait.
He added that whoever gets in at the next general election in May will be “forced to make a decision”.
Wait’s comments coincided with the preliminary release of figures from GTMC research that will be published in full at the Business Travel Show later this month and form part of its general election manifesto.
Its study of 1,000 business travellers showed that 61 per cent of corporate travellers are in favour of expanding Heathrow and 74 per cent agree there should be an increase in the number of UK regional airports with direct flights to Heathrow.
The GTMC also reiterated its support for greater competition on UK railways and expansion of Open Access operators. It said this will deliver fairer rail ticket prices, improved facilities and productivity.
The study also found 51 per cent of travellers will fly more often if APD is reduced or scrapped. However Wait hinted that government could “get rid of APD and introduce VAT on transport”.
Wait added: “As we review the results of our research it is encouraging to see that there is a healthy demand for business travel. It is now up to government to support this demand so that the UK continues to realise its potential and maintain its competitive advantage in the global economy.”