Subscribe to Holyrood updates

Newsletter sign-up


Follow us

Scotland’s fortnightly political & current affairs magazine


Subscribe to Holyrood
19 October 2015
Why Heathrow matters

Why Heathrow matters

Associate feature on behalf of Heathrow airport

Scottish airports are going from strength to strength. As the UK’s only hub airport, Heathrow complements that success – where a direct flight from Scotland isn’t available, it fills the gaps to enable new and prosperous markets to be reached. This way Heathrow can connect more Scottish exports, Scottish businesses and Scottish people to more growing markets across the globe, more conveniently. And it provides a gateway for international travellers wanting to explore the natural wonders and cultural richness of Scotland.

After three years of research, scrutiny and consultation, the Airports Commission has made a unanimous and unambiguous recommendation for expansion at Heathrow.

Heathrow’s plans for expansion are backed by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Scottish Council of Development of Industry, Aberdeen and Grampian, Glasgow and Inverness Chambers of Commerce as well as airports in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness.

Expansion at Heathrow will connect Scotland to growth markets around the world. There are more flights per day and more passengers travelling from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen to Heathrow than to any other airport.

As long as Heathrow is full, the world’s ability to connect to Scotland is limited. This places a limit on opportunity, growth and Scottish success. This is a crucial issue for Scotland, vital to its global connectivity and its ability to trade and create jobs and growth.

Without Heathrow expansion, Scotland and the rest of the UK will find itself not at the heart, but on the branch-line to global growth.

Expansion at Heathrow isn’t about a runway. It’s about the future we want for Scotland and the UK.

Aberdeen and Heathrow – A Case Study

Heathrow is the solution that offers the oil and gas industry in Aberdeen a convenient connection to every major headquarter in the world.

Since the 1970s, when oil was discovered in the North Sea, Aberdeen has evolved from a fishing town, to an oil boom town and now to the world’s centre of innovation for the energy industry.

Aberdeen is a global innovation hub for the oil and gas industry. As part of an industry dispersed across the world, air connectivity is vital to ensure Aberdeen and North East Scotland remain competitive.

Heathrow Airport has been full for over a decade. During that decade, the number of connections between Aberdeen and Heathrow has declined as airlines swap their domestic routes for long haul ones. Moreover, as the airport is operating at capacity, it becomes less resilient.

Heathrow expansion can reverse the decline in domestic connectivity and give the passenger greater choice, more convenient and accessible connectivity, and lower fares – on average passengers will be £300 better off flying from an expanding Heathrow.

Aberdeen would be better connected to one of the world’s best airports, capable of providing unrivalled connectivity to the ‘Top 20’ oil and gas headquarters around the globe.

And with 40 new long-haul destinations from Heathrow, it will help make the oil and gas innovation hub in Aberdeen the apex of the industry.

The oil and gas sector is truly global and the ‘Top 20’ companies are worth over £1 trillion. Moreover, they have offices, clients, and refineries in every single continent in the world. When they invest in new infrastructure or office space a significant consideration is the accessibility to the location.

From Heathrow, you can fly on 275 flights a week to 15 oil and gas headquarters currently not connected directly to Aberdeen. Comparatively, from Gatwick, you can only fly on 72 flights a week to just 4 headquarters. From March 2016, this will fall to 65 flights a week and only 2 headquarters.

“If the UK’s energy industry is to continue to increase its exports and delivering its cutting-edge services and innovation to the world’s energy provinces, businesses need to be able to access those regions easily and effectively. Heathrow offers a springboard to the rest of the world particularly for Aberdeen - recognised global centre of subsea excellence - which has the largest concentration of subsea companies out with Houston. It is therefore crucial for the UK's £9bn subsea industry that Heathrow retains and builds on its links to international hub airports. The subsea industry in the UK leads the way around the world and these links are vital to maintaining and growing our global market share, helping to safeguard and create jobs and grow our contribution to the economy.” - Neil Gordon, Chief Executive at Subsea UK

Holyrood Newsletters

Holyrood provides comprehensive coverage of Scottish politics, offering award-winning reporting and analysis: Subscribe

Stay in the know with our fortnightly magazine

Stay in the know with our fortnightly magazine


Popular reads
Back to top