Heathrow Expansion 'A Really Good Story For Scotland'
2 February 2017, 17:16
The expansion of Heathrow will benefit airports across Scotland, Chris Grayling has said.
The plan will also create jobs and new international business opportunities for Scottish companies, the UK Transport Secretary believes.
Some London flights from Scottish airports have been squeezed out in recent years due to capacity but Mr Grayling said opportunities for Scottish airports, including regional ones, will be a condition of building a third runway at Heathrow.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said it expects Prestwick to be one of the airports added to the west London hub's domestic network by 2030.
Speaking as he visited Glasgow Airport on Thursday, Mr Grayling said: ''I think the expansion of Heathrow is a really good story for Scotland.
''It's going to bring jobs north of the border to businesses who support the expansion itself and it will also support economic growth and strengthen Scotland's ties, through Heathrow, with the rest of the world.
''We want to see as many direct flights from this airport but Heathrow is a hub that can take people from Scotland to places around the world that will open up new opportunities for Scottish businesses.''
Heathrow expansion is one area where the UK and Scottish governments agree, with Scottish ministers backing plans for a third runway.
The Scottish Government believes it offers significant strategic and economic benefits for Scotland and could lead to 16,000 new jobs.
Heathrow Airport and the Scottish government signed a memorandum of understanding in October.
Mr Grayling said the benefits will be spread beyond Scotland's main airports.
''The benefit of the expansion for Scottish airports like Prestwick and regional airports further north is that it's going to create far more opportunity for flights within the UK.
''In recent years, the way Heathrow has changed, some of those flights have been squeezed out.
''With a big increase in capacity, we're going to start to see stronger links around the UK, better links to Scotland, and it's going to be one of the conditions that we're going to set Heathrow Airport, that it's got to provide additional opportunities within the UK.''