LAST year NECC campaigned hard, alongside both North East airports, to get the message across to decision makers in Whitehall that air connectivity plays a hugely important role for businesses seeking to strengthen and grow markets elsewhere in the UK and around the world.
This year we will continue to press this message home.
The pressures on UK airports and airlines have perhaps never been so acute. Decision makers must do all they can to ensure that policy supports national and international connectivity. This means that airports must be supported owing to the crucial economic role that they play in linking businesses to markets which in turn helps to stimulate job and wealth creation.
On November 27, NECC is partnering with Heathrow and BAA to host an event which sets out in new detail this crucial role that airports play. Speakers from Oxford Economics and BAA will be joined by leading economist, Dr Irwin Stelzer, to illustrate just how airports support economic growth in regions such as the North East.
This is an important opportunity to bring the private sector together to show partners from elsewhere in the UK, plus decision makers in Government, that there is an abundance of businesses in the North East that depend, or are beginning to depend, on air links to access markets and compete on the national and international stage.
It will be up to the private sector to voice a consistent and realistic set of transport infrastructure priorities as policy changes that govern the way transport spending and policy is set come into effect. It is vital that all stakeholders in the North East work together to ensure that there is no mistaking the message, and that it is listened to.
NECC has long believed that improving access to and from the region, whether on the ground or in the air, to national or international markets, is a certain way of unlocking the undoubted economic growth potential that exists in the North East. World class air links are absolutely central to this, and NECC will continue to put this message to decision makers.
:: James Ramsbotham is chief executive of the North East Chamber of Commerce