Research shows airport expansion damages regional economies

UK residents are spending £15 billion more overseas than visitors to the UK.

Friends of the Earth research shows, using Office of National Statistics (PDF†) figures, a devastating effect on the UK tourism industry.

For every £1 being spent in the regions by overseas visitors, up to £6.40 is being sucked out as cheap flights take UK residents overseas.

If Government proposals for massive airport expansion go ahead, the annual deficit could double by 2020. This would result in a loss to the North West region of £50 billion over the next fifteen years.

The aviation industry receives an effective Government subsidy of £9bn. This encourages people to take short breaks abroad instead of to places like the Lake District, the Norfolk coast and Devon and Cornwall.

The research shatters claims from the aviation industry and regional and national Government that airport expansion will bring an economic boom to the regions.

Regional decision makers need to:

  • Recognise that airport expansion drains their regional economy
  • End their support for airport expansion
  • Make aviation policies truly sustainable.


Why airport expansion is bad for regional economies
(PDF† - 105K) August 2005
The briefing breaks down the annual tourism deficit showing what damage it does to the economies of each region.