Economy, trade and investment
- The aviation sector contributes over £52 billion annually to the UK economy, supports almost one million jobs in the UK and pays over £8 billion a year in taxes.
- A new runway at Heathrow could deliver up to £211bn in economic growth and up to 180,000 new jobs.
- Heathrow is one of just six airports in the world with more than 50 long haul destinations. It flies to 75 destinations not served by any other UK airport.
- Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam each fly to more destinations in Brazil and China than Heathrow. Frankfurt has direct flights to five cities in Brazil in comparison with London’s two, and while Paris has 62 direct flights to China every week, London has just 34.
- An increase of 1,000 passengers a year between two countries sees trade increase by as much as £920,000. Extrapolating these figures suggests that £128m additional annual trade could result from one new daily route, or £1bn from a new daily route to all eight high-growth economies.
- Up to 20 times more trade is done with countries with which Britain has a direct air link. Trade flows have increased more quickly with emerging markets served by daily flight connections than those without.
- Heathrow is the UK’s biggest port by value and carries more freight by value than all other UK airports combined.
- 40% of Britain’s imports and exports by value travel by air. 26% of all UK exports by value pass through Heathrow.
- Inbound tourism is worth an estimated £56 billion annually in gross value added to the UK economy. Almost three-quarters of international visitors to the UK arrive by air, accounting for 84% of all inbound visitor spending.
- Research by the CBI has revealed that the UK could lose up to £31 billion in trade by 2030 because of the failure to increase flights to BRIC countries alone.
- Britain has the world’s second largest aviation manufacturing sector.
Runways, Demand & Passenger Numbers
- Britain hasn’t built a new full-length runway in the South East since the Second World War.
- Heathrow airport has been at capacity for a decade, with Gatwick full at peak times. Without action, the entire London airports system will be full by 2040.
- Amsterdam Schiphol has six runways while Frankfurt and Paris Charles de Gaulle have four runways each. At present, Heathrow has just two runways and Gatwick one.
- More than 200 million passengers go through UK airports every year, 139 million through London alone.
- Britain has seen an almost fourfold increase in air travel in the last three decades.
- In the last 20 years demand for London’s airports has grown 50%.
- Demand for flights in the UK is forecast to double by 2050.
- In 2015 for the first time ever, Dubai International overtook Heathrow as the world’s busiest international airport for passenger traffic.
- By 2036 the world’s major cities plan to have built over 50 new runways, providing capacity for an additional 1 billion air passenger journeys a year. China alone will have built 17 new runways.
Environment and Noise
- The government has committed to ensuring 2050 emissions from air transport do not exceed 2005 levels. The independent Committee on Climate Change concluded in July 2014 that a 60% growth in flights to 2050 (compared to 2005 levels) is compatible with the UK’s overall carbon reduction targets.
- Carbon emissions from air transport currently account for less than 7% of the UK’s total.
- At Heathrow, between 1980 and 2006 the number of people affected by noise fell from two million to around 250,000 despite a 75% growth in flights. The Airports Commission has forecast that even with expansion, the number of people affected by aircraft noise from Heathrow will decrease further.
- The Airbus A380 is 50% quieter on take-off than a 747 jet, while the Boeing 787 Dreamliner has a noise footprint that is 60% smaller than today’s similarly sized aircraft.
- The Airbus 380 is 16% more fuel efficient and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is 27% more fuel efficient than the jets they are designed to replace. Over the past 50 years, aircraft have become 80% more energy efficient.
- Between 2010 and 2012, the UK’s 18 biggest airports reduced their carbon footprint by 3% while their passenger numbers increased by 5%.
Connecting the UK’s regions and nations
- The number of domestic destinations served from Heathrow has fallen from 19 in 1990 to just seven in 2014, in part due to capacity constraints. The Airports Commission forecasts that without expansion this will fall to as few as three by 2040.
- Amsterdam Schiphol airport has flights to 20 destinations across the UK.
- Heathrow expansion could deliver almost 80,000 jobs and up to £114 billion of GDP outside London and the South East. This includes 16,100 new jobs in Scotland, 15,300 jobs in the North West, and 5,000 jobs in Belfast.
- Heathrow’s biggest export by tonnage is Scottish salmon, which was worth £280 million in 2014 alone. Key imports and exports which pass through Heathrow include medical instruments, pharmaceuticals and electronics.
- Regional airports play a significant role in supporting employment and trade in their local areas. For example, Aberdeen Airport supports 2,000 jobs on site and a further 4,000 across Scotland; Newcastle Airport contributes £650 million to the economy of the North East, with 3,200 jobs supported on site and 8,000 across the region; Newquay Airport and its Aerohub Enterprise Zone supports over 550 jobs and contributes more than £22 million to the local economy.