Brexit: BIFA fears Heathrow expansion decision will be further delayed

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The British International Freight Association (BIFA) has expressed its concerns that a decision on expanding the UK’s aviation capacity will be delayed further in the aftermath of the country leaving the European Union.

The UK public voted to leave the European Union in a referendum on 23 June, with prime minister (PM) David Cameron resigning as a result. BIFA, which represents UK freight forwarding and logistics businesses fears this will further delay a decision on expansion, which has already been postponed since last year.

The government appointed Airports Commission released its report in July 2015, and recommended that Heathrow Airport should receive a third runway. The government was due to formally respond by December 2015 but delayed it until mid-2016, though there are now fears deadline will also be missed.

BIFA director general, Robert Keen says: “In December last year, BIFA voiced the dismay of its 1,500 member companies when the government announced that it would be deferring its final decision on expanding UK airport capacity until the summer of 2016.”

“With last week’s developments, we are now entering a period of great uncertainty on the political front, and BIFA members are worried that will result in big decisions being postponed, or abandoned completely.”

In his resignation speech, Cameron said big issues should be confronted, and Keen says the outgoing PM should stick to his word with increasing capacity. “He should make good on that sentiment by announcing forthwith that there will be no further delay and the Government will move forward with the recommendations made by the Airports Commission by building more capacity at Heathrow Airport.”

Keen adds that the forwarding community are expecting the government to make a decision. “The UK’s freight forwarding community, which is the engine of Britain’s international trade, is counting on the government to show that we are a confident, outward-looking trading nation, still capable of taking bold decisions that have a direct positive effect on the UK economy, its international connectivity and reputation.”