After the world recovered from the shock of Britain voting to leave the EU in June 2016, socio-economic and political uncertainty still prevails. However, if the recent green light by the UK Government in October 2016 for Heathrow to proceed with the hotly-contested Heathrow Airport expansion is anything to go by, one could argue that the sheer scale of this project is exactly the kind of nation-building program the UK needs to bridge ideological divides and move forward together towards a hopefully, economically prosperous outcome for a Post-Brexit Britain. We chat with the extraordinarily talented and empathetic Executive Director Expansion, Emma Gilthorpe whom is responsible for delivering this once-in-a-generational opportunity.

By Joanne Leila Smith

When Heathrow first become a civil airport in 1946, it was surrounded by fields and green pastures. Fast track seven decades later, with the first proposal to expand Heathrow starting from early 1970s, after decades of opposition from special interest groups, political posturing, local constituents adapting to an ever-increasing urban density around Heathrow, competing interests between heavy industries and just the basic logistical challenges an expansion would entail, it’s little surprise that expansion has been decades in the making.

As the UK’s major hub, Heathrow is the world’s second busiest airport which is currently running at 99 percent capacity. The airport expansion project, which includes a third runaway and a sixth terminal, will be executed over three phases over a nearly 25-year period to completion with an estimated cost of around £16 billion.

The winning argument to finally proceed with the expansion after decades of political argy-bargy, particularly given the post-Brexit climate in the UK, is perhaps the long-haul connections that will be needed now more than ever with UK’s offshore trading partners to grow its economy. Early projections suggest that the Heathrow Expansion will create 180,000 jobs in the UK alone, with an estimated £211 Billion worth of GDP impact.

Delivering a project of such scale, under a high degree of public scrutiny and sensitivity (and rightly so) while balancing shareholder expectation is not for the feeble-minded. Heathrow Executive Director Expansion Emma Gilthorpe is working through phase one of the expansion, the planning phase from now to 2020.  According to Giltho

INDVSTRVS, Joanne Leila Smith, Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow Airport expansion

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