A majority of London businesses (54%) would prefer Heathrow to be expanded compared with 30% backing Gatwick. The finding is part of a survey for the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) by polling company ComRes on a number of key transport issues facing the capital.
The 'Planes and Trains' poll of over 500 business leaders also found 31% see more efficient runway operations at Heathrow (including 'mixed mode' operations) as the most beneficial short- or medium-term means of making best use of existing capacity for their companies, while 17% see extended runway operating hours at Heathrow (including early morning arrivals) as most beneficial. Some 19% think improved railway access into Gatwick would be most valuable to their firms.
'Easy access via public transport' was the most important factor determining the choice of airport for business leaders polled, with 61% selecting this as very important, followed by 'quick processing times' (58%) and then 'affordable flight costs' (56%).
While a majority of London business leaders (55%) say that they support plans for High Speed 2 (HS2), interestingly, of those opposed to HS2, a majority (54%) say that they would be more likely to support the project if the plans included a direct link to Heathrow Airport.
42% of business leaders opposed to HS2 indicate they would be more likely to support it if it was directly linked to High Speed One (HS1).
Asked about the role of infrastructure projects for coping with London's projected population increase, 44% of London businesses believe Crossrail Two will be very important. A majority (57%) support Transport for London's tube modernisation plans to close ticket offices in order to help deliver 24-hour tube services and increase investment.