The SNP Government has come out in support of a new third runway at Heathrow.
Heathrow airport has agreed a memorandum committing it to creating 16,000 new jobs in Scotland as a result of the expansion, a reduction in landing charges for flights from north of the border, and a marketing campaign to promote Scottish tourism.
Scottish Cabinet minister Keith Brown said Heathrow provided the “most significant benefits to the country’s economy and connectivity”.
“Heathrow’s plan offers significant job creation, major investment opportunities and, crucially, seeks to ensure all of Scotland’s airports benefit from the new runway capacity when it comes and also in the lead-up period."
Added Kenneth Gibson:
“It’s now time for the UK Government to end its costly prevarication on airport expansion and support Heathrow’s plans to ensure Scotland, and the UK as a whole can reap the employment and economic dividends".
The UK Government is expected to announce its decision shortly on whether to expand Heathrow or Gatwick after a series of delays.
The Davies Commission last year recommended building a new runway at the West London airport, saying it would maximise UK economic opportunities.
Approval could prove politically difficult for the Prime Minister, with Cabinet minister Boris Johnson and Justine Greening among those opposed to expansion at Heathrow and prominent Tory backbencher Zac Goldsmith pledging to trigger a by-election if it is given the green light.
Heathrow welcomed the SNP Government’s announcement today.
“An expanded Heathrow will create 16,000 jobs in Scotland,” said the airport’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye.
“It would facilitate more airlines flying routes to Scottish airports, meaning more flights, more competition and choice for families and businesses.
“That also means more visitors to Scotland, more destinations for Scottish tourists and more opportunity for Scottish businesses to reach new export markets.
“This partnership demonstrates how Heathrow expansion can work for every region and nation of the UK. Now is the time for the UK Government to make the right choice and back Heathrow.”