Jobs warning to Airports Commission

by Jim Dunton Thu 12 December 2013, 10:30 am

Ealing Council has warned that closing Heathrow Airport in favour of a new international air hub could cost 16,800 jobs in the borough and 70,000 in the wider west London area.

The stark figures come as the government’s Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, is due to publish its initial report on ways to ensure that demand for UK runway capacity is met.

They are based on independent research carried out by Parsons Brinkerhof and Berkeley Hanover Consulting, and offer a comprehensive analysis of the impact on the economies of Ealing, Hounslow and Slough of the most likely longer-term options for future airport capacity in London and the South East in the period to 2030.

The consultants looked at six possible scenarios for the airport, based on likely options the commission will consider, and calculated that the closure of Heathrow - in favour of a new hub in the Thames Estuary or elsewhere - would risk some 70,000 jobs.

Of those, 16,800 would be in Ealing, 36,100 in Hounslow, and 17,000 in Slough.

Ealing Council leader Julian Bell said the closure of Heathrow should not be contemplated.

“Thousands of local families depend on Heathrow for their livelihoods and the airport plays a critical role in the local economy,” he said.

"The Davies Commission should take into account the economic impact of each of the options that are being considered and pay particular attention to this report, which makes clear Heathrow’s importance to the success of Ealing and west London.”

The study also contends that Heathrow’s hub status and transport links remain critical to the location decisions of many major corporate global headquarters and internationally-oriented UK companies.

It argues that the local IT/telecommunications cluster may need to relocate if Heathrow were closed, raising the possibility that such businesses may do so outside of the UK rather than near any new London air hub.

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