Airport expansion delay costly to Scotland
A delay to the final decision on airport expansion in London will prove costly to Scotland, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities Keith Brown has warned.
The UK Government had pledged to make a final decision by the end of 2015 on proposals to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport, but today announced that decision will be delayed for a further six months.
The Airports Commission originally backed expansion at Heathrow Airport in July.
Mr Brown said the delay is bad news for Scottish airports:
“The UK Government has dragged its heels on the issue of airport expansion for decades, so it’s incredibly disappointing to find out this decision has been delayed by a further six months.
“With airport capacity in London at a premium, Scottish airports are already facing heavy competition when it comes to securing landing slots. This delay only exacerbates the issue and increases the chances of frequency and capacity between Scotland and Heathrow in particular being diminished.
“Air links with London are crucial to the Scottish economy. Not only do they give businesses important access to global markets, but they also ensure that the significant numbers of inbound business passengers and tourists travelling through the London airports continue to have the option of connecting flights to Scotland.
“We have been very clear from the outset of this process that we want to see a guaranteed level of access set for Scottish flights, fully recognising the two-way benefits of better and more sustainable connectivity between Scotland and London.
“The report from the Airports Commission, published in July, recognised the importance of these connections between Scotland and London. It is now time for the UK Government to stop prevaricating and take action to secure these vital links. There is no doubt in my mind that this delay shows a blatant lack of leadership that will prove costly for Scotland.”