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Billy Wood

Heathrow highlights importance of ‘Northern Powerhouse SMEs’ to expansion plans

Heathrow Airport has outlined the importance role SMEs from across the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ will play in delivering the airport’s expansion plans.

Ahead of the government’s decision in the summer on any potential third runway, Heathrow’s Development Director, Phil Wilbraham has been talking up the key role the North’s SMEs will play were the hub to expand.

The airport already spends over £1.5bn a year with over 1,200 SMEs across the UK as part of its supply chain, and it claims there will be significant opportunities in planning and developing an additional runway and new terminals if the £15.6bn project is to go ahead.

The claims come as the airport announces its Heathrow Business Summits for 2016, in Manchester on 7 June and Leeds on 29th September, which give SMEs the chance to come face-to-face with the airport’s suppliers.

Talking up the input of SMEs in the continued development of the airport, Wilbraham said: “SMEs are the backbone of the British economy and have played an indispensable role in helping us transform Heathrow into a world-class airport Britain can be proud of.

“We started the Heathrow Business Summit 20 years ago and we’ve seen the proportion of SMEs in our supply chain grow ever since. I’m proud that this year we’re able to host Business Summits across the Northern Powerhouse – enabling us to do our part to encourage their continued growth.”

Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce Policy Director Chris Fletcher, commenting on Heathrow’s Business Summits, believes the benefits of a third runway will be felt right across the country.

He said: “Greater Manchester Chamber is really pleased to work with Heathrow in putting forward business opportunities to our members and other local businesses.”

“This is proof that major organisations have real openings to work and trade with other businesses irrespective of their size or location. The UK economy can only get stronger by all businesses taking advantage of such opportunities and we encourage as many companies as possible to get involved.”

West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce Vice Chairman Graham Cooper added: “The event last year was a great example of how the Chamber can work with organisations like Heathrow to highlight national supply chain opportunities for businesses in our region.

“It also demonstrated that Heathrow has a genuine appetite to create and build long term relationships with companies who operate within a variety of sectors. The length and breadth of Heathrow’s supply chain provides a massive opportunity, one which I would encourage businesses to take advantage of at the event in 2016.”

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