Leeds Bradford and Heathrow airports are forging closer ties in a bid to support a third runway at the London hub, which they say would bring wealth and jobs to Yorkshire.
At a dinner at the House of Commons for eight local MPs, Heathrow laid out its plans to bring Yorkshire businesses on stream in the development of the third runway.
This follows the region’s strong involvement in the building of Terminal 5 and the redevelopment of Terminal 2, with most of the steel being sourced from Yorkshire.
Heathrow has picked Yorkshire as the first British region to be targeted as part of its drive to improve connectivity with the rest of Britain. It will hold a supply chain conference in Leeds on October 15 to highlight how local businesses can get involved with its plans for the future.
Tony Hallwood, aviation development director at Leeds Bradford International Airport, said: “Heathrow has never undertaken a regional business event before. This conference will give local businesses the chance to understand what Heathrow has to say. Yorkshire businesses can secure some of the supply chain benefits.
“For Heathrow to come to Leeds first shows it means business in Yorkshire.”
Heathrow has already handed out £200m in contracts to Yorkshire businesses over the past three years.
The House of Commons dinner was a chance for Heathrow and Leeds Bradford to raise their profile with regional MPs and show how the two airports can deliver new jobs in Yorkshire.
At the moment British Airways has three flights a day between Leeds Bradford and Heathrow. Flights take off from Yorkshire at 9.30am, 2.30pm and 9pm, but Leeds Bradford is looking to improve the scheduling to offer an early morning (around 7am) flight to offer Yorkshire travellers better connections.
“We believe we have the potential for a minimum of four flights a day,” said Mr Hallwood.
Some 300,000 passengers have flown between Leeds Bradford and Heathrow over the past three years since the BA service started up.
“The service has allowed regional businesses to connect to Heathrow. It also allows overseas businesses to travel right into the heart of Yorkshire. There’s also tourism - following the Grand Depart of the Tour de France we want to encourage more inbound visitors from across the world.”
Leeds Bradford is keen to lend its support to Heathrow’s plans to grow and development the London hub following the Airports Commission’s recommendation that the Government approves plans for a third runway at Heathrow.
“Heathrow wants to develop regional services as they provide feeder traffic for ongoing international routes,” said Mr Hallwood.
“The Yorkshire region has showed there is a significant market here.”
The House of Commons event was hosted by Pudsey MP Stuart Andrew.