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Heathrow expansion - key facts about the economy

We believe the economic benefits of a Heathrow expansion remain unclear and have concerns that the benefits have been overstated.

Our view

We believe that any economic benefits are marginalised because:

  • 1 in 3 people using Heathrow don’t ever leave the airport. They get off one flight and board and therefore do not contribute anything to the local economy (barring any purchases made in the terminal)
  • A gradual move to larger planes would be better than a new runway
  • Only 30% of passengers are business travellers
  • The costs of Heathrow’s environmental impact have not been studied in depth and therefore not taken into account when assessing economic benefit
  • Empty seats waste money and need filling before building new runways

Pro-expansion view

Pro-expansion supporters may argue that expansion will benefit the economy by:

  • Providing greater transport links with the rest of the world, therefore attracting businesses to locate here
  • Providing a boost to the local economy through job creation
  • Opening up the UK through more flights connecting emerging international markets such as China

Updated: 20 May 2016

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