North East businesses large and small are showing off the best of the region’s talent in Gateshead today at Heathrow’s first ever Business Summit North East.
Local businesses will be joined by Aviation Minister Lord Callanan and Shadow Secretary of State for Transport Andy McDonald MP who will cross the political divide to celebrate the role the nation’s only hub airport plays in driving growth across the UK – particularly as the airport prepares the groundwork for its multi-billion pound expansion programme. It is the first time since the Government decision backing an expanded Heathrow that the two major political parties have jointly recognised the positive impact Heathrow can have on rebalancing growth and boosting productivity outside London and the South East.
Heathrow is partnering with the North East England Chamber of Commerce to boost the number of North East SMEs in its supply chain as it look to drive economic growth outside London. Today’s free Business Summit North East gives attending business a unique chance to meet face-to-face with Heathrow’s biggest suppliers and win contracts at one of the world’s largest airports.
The day consists of speed-dating style interview sessions with top procurement managers representing businesses based at the airport – giving North East SMEs the chance to build meaningful in-person connections. As one of the world’s top airports, working at Heathrow offers successful firms strong credentials which they can leverage on other projects in the UK and internationally. The new relationships built at the Business Summit North East will give a key advantage to North East firms as the airport looks to begin planning and building the construction of new runway and terminal facilities – projects which are forecast to create up to 5,100 new jobs and drive £4 billion of growth for the North East.
Supporting businesses and communities across the North East through its expansion programme is not the only priority for Heathrow. As part of its newly launched World of Opportunities grant programme, the airport announced last month it would fund two trade missions for North East businesses – Billingham pump manufacturer Tomlinson Hall & Co and Wilton’s Micropore Technologies – in order to help them boost their export capabilities.
Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said:
“Running one of the busiest airports in the world is a complex job and we need all the help we can get. Local leaders like Lord Callanan and Andy McDonald MP know first-hand the wealth of talented businesses in the North East and we’re delighted to be here today with them to tap into that expertise. Whether its advanced manufacturing, complex engineering or biotech– there is a role for North East businesses to play at Heathrow and together we’ll strengthen the economy in the North East.”
Aviation Minister Lord Callanan said:
“As someone who was born and bred in the North East, I have great pride in the extraordinary wealth of talent and skills this region has to offer.
“As Aviation Minister, I am aware of the vital role Heathrow has to play in driving growth across the UK, through connecting local businesses with international markets and helping people keep in touch with friends and family around the world.
“This event is an opportunity to showcase what we have to offer in the North East, and also to celebrate the vital role of the UK’s major hub airport in supporting growth right across the country.”
Shadow Secretary of State for Transport Andy McDonald MP said:
“Our aviation sector is key to securing the international connectivity necessary for the UK to remain an outward-looking trading nation, and it’s crucial that the whole of the country participates in this success.
“The North East has the skills, the capacity and the enthusiasm to play a major role in the future developments in our aviation sector – including in expanding Heathrow. Therefore, it is central to Labour’s approach that our regional economies make their full contributions to and derive direct benefit from these projects, and the Heathrow Business Summit is an ideal opportunity for the North East to showcase our regional offer.”
James Ramsbotham, CEO at the North East England Chamber of Commerce said:
“As a global region, North East England relies on its air connectivity. With up to six flights a day from Newcastle to Heathrow, expansion of the UK’s hub airport will secure these links and give the capacity needed for growth in the future. Couple this with the Government’s emerging Aviation Strategy and there is a real opportunity to build the competitiveness of our regional airports while growing the UK network as a whole.
“The Heathrow Business Summit gives our region’s SMEs the chance to be part of the future of the sector, and help deliver the modern aviation infrastructure the UK needs to reach a global marketplace.”