Press Release

Additional aviation capacity at Heathrow and across the UK crucial to maintain post-Brexit Britain’s competitive edge

18 April 2017


Additional aviation capacity at Heathrow and across the UK will be even more crucial for post-Brexit Britain if it is to retain its competitive edge a paper by Balfour Beatty, the international infrastructure group, reveals today.

In its aviation policy paper for post-Brexit Britain, “Getting off the Ground”, Balfour Beatty”, has outlined that a world-class airport hub is key to unlocking the growth of emerging markets.  Conversely it warns a lack of direct connections to emerging markets will hold the economy back, with trade instead going to better connected countries.

The paper states that if work does not begin soon to increase capacity in the southeast, London and the UK will be overtaken by other major European cities as transport hubs.  Balfour Beatty therefore not only backs plans to expand UK runway capacity including  a third runway at Heathrow, but also calls for progress to be accelerated. It concludes that the vote to leave the EU must now be taken into account in considering the UK’s future aviation capacity needs.

Since it will be even more important that all parts of the UK are well-connected post-Brexit: it is likely that expansion will be required, not just at Heathrow and Gatwick, but at other airports across the country.  An aviation strategy that seeks to improve the country’s connectivity nationally by considering the contribution that all airports can make will ensure all regions can benefit from better international links and the subsequent economic growth. 

The paper suggests Scotland, Birmingham and Manchester as some of the regions that would be good to consider for additional aviation capacity. This would aid the growth of areas such as the Northern Powerhouse which is yet to have access to direct routes to global markets. In addition parts of the South-East, such as Cambridge, would benefit from additional capacity to support the international trade of goods and services from its growing IT hub.

Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty Chief Executive, said:   “In a post-Brexit Britain, international interconnectivity will be even more important so it is crucial that we start boosting our aviation capacity sooner rather than later in order to retain our competitive edge in a global market.

“Consideration of where to add capacity must be given not just to London and the South-East but all regions. Failure to take this UK wide  approach could see our trade with international markets and potential economic growth fail to get off the ground. The right approach will put aviation at the heart of the UK’s industrial strategy and deliver the economic growth and dynamism that the UK needs.”


Media enquiries to:
Vivienne Dunn
Balfour Beatty
+44 (0)207 963 2150 | follow us @balfourbeatty

All non-media related enquiries should be directed to +44 (0)20 7216 6800 or

Notes to Editors:
Balfour Beatty ( is a leading international infrastructure group. With 30,000 employees, we provide innovative and efficient infrastructure that underpins our daily lives, supports communities and enables economic growth. We finance, develop, build and maintain complex infrastructure such as transportation, power and utility systems, social and commercial buildings.

Our main geographies are the UK, US and South East Asia. Over the last 100 years we have created iconic buildings and infrastructure all over the world including the London Olympics’ Aquatic Centre, Hong Kong’s first Zero Carbon building, the world’s biggest shopping mall in Dubai, the National Museum of the Marine Corps in the US and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

Balfour Beatty has significant experience in airport development in its core  UK, US and Hong Kong markets. Our experience covers all aspects of airport and airfield infrastructure  ranging from the creation of  major passenger terminals to passenger transit and airport facilities and the full range of service installations. We have established long-term relationships with airports including Heathrow, Gatwick, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Bristol and Dublin. These relationships are founded on our ability to deliver high quality infrastructure and successfully managing the security, logistics and health and safety requirements associated with working in an airport environment.

The company is currently working on a £170m contract to upgrade baggage screening and handling systems for Heathrow Airport and a range  of projects through  Gatwick’s new £1.2 billion capital investment programme, which will deliver expansion in scale and passenger capacity.

Completed projects include the closure of Heathrow Airport Terminal 1 and multiple asset replacement projects at Heathrow Airport, the £590 million Heathrow Airport Terminal 2B construction project, the largest ‘airside’ project ever carried out at the  Airport measuring half a kilometre in length and the  construction of the £329m award winning Terminal 5 facility.

Vivienne Dunn

Senior Media & PR Manager