OREANDA-NEWS. Lord John Shipley of Gosforth has been appointed as the independent chair of the National Connectivity Task Force, which was first announced by Heathrow in its May submission to the Airports Commission.

Today's announcement coincides with Heathrow's latest submission to the Airports Commission on its Discussion Paper on Utilisation of the UK's Existing Airport Capacity.

After meeting with over 25 business groups and many individuals across the UK, the clear message was that Heathrow expansion has the potential to support growth across the whole of the UK. But the challenge is to make sure that Heathrow can regain the air links to regions and nations that were lost as capacity constraints squeezed out domestic traffic.

Members from business, academia and industry experts from across the UK will be invited to make up the 15-strong Task Force whose purpose is to develop policy proposals and recommendations for improving regional access to an expanded Heathrow. They will report their findings to Heathrow by the end of 2014 to ensure they form a valuable contribution to Airports Commission's final report and recommendations.

The Task Force is the latest step in delivering Heathrow's commitment to better connect the whole of the UK to global growth.

Lord Shipley, Chair of the National Connectivity Task Force, said:

“I'm pleased to have been asked to Chair the task force which has a vital job to do in casting a critical eye over how Heathrow currently connects to the rest of the UK, and how this could be improved in the future if a third runway were to be built at the airport.

“Businesses around the UK want to maximise their opportunities to trade in both established and emerging overseas economies and recognise the value connections to and through the UK's hub airport.

“This independent Task Force will develop policy proposals and recommendations that will help to better connect the UK to Heathrow, and in turn, to current and emerging markets.”

John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow's Chief Executive, said:

“Only an expanded Heathrow can provide the connectivity needed to connect the whole of the UK to global growth

“Businesses and individuals from across Great Britain want to use the UK's hub airport as their global gateway to overseas markets. We already have strong and improving road and rail links to Heathrow. This Task Force will advise us on how to better connect Heathrow to the excellent regional airports across the UK.

“This Task Force will make a valuable contribution to turning Heathrow into a truly national asset for all parts of the UK and one of which we can all be proud.”