Business bosses call for end to dithering on new runway plan

Marion Dakers
DISGRUNTLED bosses have urged politicians to end their prolonged “dithering” on expanding Britain’s airports or face losing business to countries willing to allow more runways.

More than a hundred corporate heads and business groups have signed the campaign to “Let Britain Fly”, which is backed by London First, the British Chambers of Commerce and the Institute of Directors.

While they do not call for expansion at a specific airport, the signatories call on this government and the next one to set out a firm plan once Sir Howard Davies’ commission sets out its preferred option in 2015.

“I think what’s important is to send a message that when Davies reports, it’s time to make a decision,” said Louise Ellman, the Labour MP who heads the transport select committee, at a launch event yesterday.

Baroness Jo Valentine of London First added: “After 50 years of stop-start government mismanagement of our airport infrastructure, the Airports Commission represents the final call for politicians of all parties to step up and sort out the problem.”

Sir Richard Branson, although not one of the signatories, said yesterday: “While MPs from all parties kick airport capacity around like a political football, airlines, the public and the economy are all suffering.”

London football teams Chelsea and Tottenham have also backed the campaign.


Sir Adrian Montague,chairman of 3i
Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management
Rupert Soames, chief executive of Aggreko
Andy Clarke, president of Asda
George Weston, chief executive of Associated British Foods
Tony Pidgley, chairman of Berkeley
Chris Grigg, boss of British Land
Hugh Seaborn, head of Cadogan
Sir George Iacobescu, leader of Canary Wharf Group
Maurice Thompson, vice chair of Citi
Professor Paul Curran, vice-chancellor of City University London
John Allan, chairman of Dixons
Tony Hayward, boss of Genel Energy
Mike Cherry, national policy head at Federation of Small Businesses
Brian Robertson, formerly of HSBC
Michael Spencer, ICAP CEO
Simon Walker, director general at the Institute of Directors
Professor Sir Rick Trainor, president of King’s College, London
Robert Noel, Land Securities boss
Robert Elliott, chairman and senior partner at Linklaters
Sir Win Bischoff, chairman at Lloyds
Steve Holliday, head of National Grid
Lord Wolfson, boss of Next
Sir Andrew Cahn, Nomura
John Spencer, head of Regus
Graham Chipchase, Rexam boss
David Sleath, chief executive of Segro
Michael Tobin, head of Telecity
David Levin, chief executive of UBM
Sir Martin Sorrell, chief exec at WPP