BVEP - Business Visits and Events Partnership

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Airport delay frustrating but expected, says BVEP

British Visits and Events Partnership says decision even more crucial following Brexit vote.

Further delays to a decision on a third runway at Heathrow is "disappointing but not unexpected", says the Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP).

The government said today there would be no decision on the expansion at Heathrow or Gatwick airports until the election of a new leader in October. Prime Minister David Cameron was due to give a decision in a matter of weeks.

BVEP chair Michael Hirst said the new delay on a decision was frustrating but not unexpected.

"One can understand in the current hiatus around Brexit that these sort of decisions do get delayed. But we think this puts off an inevitable decision," he said.

"We'll keep campaigning with the Let Britain fly campaign to get this extra capacity which is of vital importance, perhaps even more so now Britain will probably have to rely on a much more export-led economy, to increase the number of business visitors to and from the UK."

Hirst said the Brexit vote had put even more importance on expanding air links with non-European destinations.

"We want to see the volume of travellers into the UK grow and in particular the importance of the new destination that travellers will come from. One of the major roles of Heathrow is the connectivity from some of the emerging markets which if we do leave will be of enormous importance to the UK," he said.

"We talk about more trade with China and India; well we don't at the moment have the routes to these destinations in the abundance that some of our European counterparts have. If we're to build these networks we need the airport capacity to do that."

The Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) added that delays are causing "significant hurt" for UK businesses.

GTMC CEO Paul Wait said: "Regardless of political beliefs, every UK business is crying out for messages of confidence and room to find new growth, including outside of Europe. Without greater airport capacity, and soon, UK businesses will be collateral damage in the circus that is currently unfolding.

"We urge an urgent reassessment of this delay."

Originally published on 1st July 2016.