Business bosses in the north-east have backed plans by Gatwick Airport to begin routine use of their Northern Runway.
The proposal would mean the strip is used alongside the airport’s main runway, increasing its air capacity and helping regions across the UK to connect with London and the south-east of England.
Yesterday, a group of regional chambers around the country sent a letter to UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to express “collective support” for the Northern Runway plans.
Among the six signatories was Russell Borthwick, the chief executive of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, which represents around 1,000 businesses employing 120,000 people in the north-east.
He said: “Aberdeen, more than any other region of the UK, is dependent on air connectivity to enable our internationally-focused economy and ensure we do not become just a distant northern outpost.
“Safeguarding existing routes and securing new connections to key hubs and cities will be central to our economic recovery, enabling us to take the lead role in driving the energy transition that will pave the way for delivering our national net zero targets.”
The letter was also signed by representatives of the Belfast, Guernsey, Isle of Man, London and Sussex chambers of commerce, which together have more than 8,500 members.
Gatwick has said the proposals would allow the Sussex airport to serve 75 million passengers by 2038.
If approved, the Northern Runway would be repositioned by 39ft at a cost of around £500million, with a reopening planned for summer 2029.
A consultation on the plans will come to an end on Wednesday.