The UK economy needs to have a large, hub airport in order to maintain long-term growth, according to a statement by business lobby, the CBI.

The Airport Commission are currently debating three possible areas for airport expansion, either building on existing sites at Heathrow and Gatwick, or creating a new site on the Thames Estuary. They will make their decision next year.

The CBI said in their statement today that the Airport Commission must make a quick decision, and that there should be “spades in the ground by 2020.”

The business lobby claimed that eight new routes to emerging markets would generate £1 billion a year in extra trade, and that hub airports are the best way to encourage this.

Katja Hall, deputy director-general of the CBI, said:

“UK business wants action. There can be no more excuses – we need to see the Airports Commission deliver a strong case for new capacity and a clear schedule for delivery, and politicians to commit to spades in the ground by the end of the next Parliament.

“Our analysis demonstrated that connectivity is the lifeblood of trade, but it also highlighted that the UK is already falling behind, so every day we delay making a decision, makes matters worse.”

London Mayor, Boris Johnson, has publicly backed the plan for a new Thames airport, saying that expanding Heathrow would be “self-defeating”, “short-termist” and a “disaster”.

The Airport Commission will decide this week whether a new Thames airport should be included in its considerations for next year.

Image by Djof