Brexit trade fears as UK’s biggest airport delays expansion: ‘We need extra capacity!’

Boris Johnson celebrated Brexit as he predicted a global Britain with trade agreements across the globe but this could be at risk, according to John Holland-Kaye. The Heathrow boss announced the airport’s third runway will be delayed to early 2030. He noted that the runway is needed at the UK’s biggest airport to grow connections around the world.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Holland-Kaye said: “The third runway is just going through the final stage of the legal process. We hope to get a positive decision from the Supreme Court probably early next year.

“We would then get on with the planning process.

“While it might seem strange to be talking about a new runway when demand is so low, by the time we can get the new runway open by around 2030, we expect the UK economy will have recovered.

“We will need that extra capacity.

“Now that Britain is outside the European Union we need to have Britain’s biggest port with more connections to the growing world and only Heathrow can do that.

“If the Prime Minister is serious about a global Britain, he needs a third runway at Heathrow.”

It comes as The European Union’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier expressed confidence at a closed-door meeting with national envoys to the bloc that a new deal with Britain was possible, diplomatic sources told Reuters.

Mr Barnier’s comments after the latest round of EU-UK negotiations last week stand in sharp contrast with the downbeat assessment he delivered publicly in saying that London’s rigid positions on fisheries and the level playing field guarantees of fair competition meant a deal was “unlikely” for now.

Further highlighting that the internal EU analysis of the latest in the tortuous Brexit process may be more sanguine than some officials have suggested in public, Barnier’s comments were echoed by Ireland and the Netherlands, according to the sources, who are familiar with last Friday’s discussions.

Envoys for the two EU countries — expected to take the biggest hit from any change in trade rules following Brexit — said they remained confident that a new deal with Britain would eventually materialise, the sources said.

In discussions among representatives of the 27 EU member states about fisheries and the latest on Brexit, the Dutch envoy quipped that a deal would eventually “come swimming across (the English) Channel”, according to the sources.


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The sources also revealed discord between EU member states on the bloc’s fisheries strategy in talks with Britain, saying that Lithuania and Hungary expressed concern at the meeting that a stringent stance on the matter risked threatening overall chances for sealing a deal.

The sources said these comments were rebuked as “unacceptable” by France, for which the future of its fishing industry is a sensitive economic and political matter.

A spokeswoman for the EU’s executive European Commission, where Barnier is the official responsible for Brexit negotiations for the whole bloc of 27 nations, said it had nothing to add to the negotiator’s public comments last week.

Asked for comment, Lithuania’s EU mission said it would not discuss exchanges at closed meetings and added: “Lithuania remains of the position that a wide-ranging and ambitious agreement on the future EU-UK relations would be the preferable option.”

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