U.K. Breakup Would Drive ’Existential Debate,’ Heathrow CEO Says

Scottish independence and a break-up of the U.K. would likely drive an “existential debate” about the role of the nation in the world, Heathrow Airport Ltd. Chief Executive Officer John Holland-Kaye said.

“We will be debating: should we become a small island or should we fight for still being a significant player in the world,” the executive told journalists in London yesterday. “I think there is only one answer to that. We will fall back to what we’re good at, which is a trading nation and we will want to protect the strengths that we have. The only way to do that is by making it as easy as possible for U.K. people to do business globally and global businesses to come here.”

Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, was short-listed along with London Gatwick as the best options for a new landing strip serving southeast England. Scottish nationalists support the expansion of Heathrow as a connecting point to the rest of the world, and while a separation might create a “hiatus in a decision” on where to expand runway capacity, global connectivity will remain paramount, Holland-Kaye said.

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