Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

U.K. Runway Project Needs Fast Tracking, Business Leaders Say

Britain’s new Conservative government should quickly approve plans for a new landing strip in southeast England, more than 100 business leaders said in a letter distributed by pro-runway lobby group Let Britain Fly.

The letter was signed by chiefs from companies including Aberdeen Asset Management Plc, Associated British Foods Plc, Harrods and ICAP Plc. The runway is needed to increase tourism, trade, investment and economic growth, the executives said, without specifying at which airport it should be built.

Europe’s largest hub at London Heathrow, which has been operating close to capacity since the start of the decade, and rival Gatwick have been short-listed for a new runway by the state-appointed Davies Commission, with a final recommendation due in coming weeks in the wake of the May 7 general election.

Some members of the new Conservative government including London mayor Boris Johnson oppose adding another landing strip at Heathrow, and Tory lawmaker Zac Goldsmith says he’ll quit Parliament if the existing hub is selected for expansion.

The Conservative manifesto said that the government would “respond” to Davies’s final report. Still, Prime Minister David Cameron might find it hard to ignore any recommendation made by a commission he himself appointed.

Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd. Chief Executive Officer John Holland-Kaye said May 11 that he’s confident the airport can meet air quality requirements after the commission said it needed further information before the end of May.

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