Thousands of new jobs will be created in the North East if a third runway is built at Heathrow Airport, according to one of the region’s main business organisations.
Businesses in the region have long backed Heathrow as the best option to increase air capacity in the south east because of its long-standing links to Newcastle Airport.
Next week, the Airport Commission’s consultation on future airport capacity will close, and now the North East Chamber of Commerce has highlighted independent research saying that expansion of Heathrow could create 5,100 jobs in the North East and add £4bn to the region’s GDP.
The research - which was commissioned by Heathrow to back its case - says those figures would reduce to 1,600 jobs and a GDP increase of £2.8bn if expansion of Gatwick was preferred.
North East Chamber of Commerce Policy and Research Manager, Mark Stephenson, said: “The Heathrow expansion is set to deliver fantastic results for the North East with business forecast to flourish bringing more jobs and economic prosperity to the local area.
“More employment for local people means a more vibrant economy and will ensure the North East continues to grow as an attractive place to live and work.”
The report by consultancy QUOD shows that regional employment benefits could total 179,800 new jobs across the UK as a result of foreign investment and trade.
Trade is likely to play a big part in the growth, with towns and cities across the rest of the country benefitting from nine times more employment from foreign investment in manufacturing than London and the South East.
The report adds new detail to the findings of the Airport Commission in its interim report last year, which also confirmed an expanded Heathrow would deliver the best economic outcomes for regions.
John Holland-Kaye, CEO at Heathrow, said: “The verdict is in – expansion of Heathrow will be best for every region and nation of the UK – more jobs and more economic growth. That is why 28 chambers of commerce from up and down the country are backing Heathrow, together with unions, businesses and local people.
“Only Heathrow can help to grow and rebalance our economy by connecting all of Britain to global growth. An expanded Heathrow can be the most modern, efficient, sustainable and best connected airport in the world – attracting more business, more investment and delivering more jobs and growth that the whole country can benefit from.”