In the wake of the decision of a third runway for London Heathrow Airport, chauffeur firms in the UK have been speaking out about the plans which were revealed in October.
The Department for Transport says the move to expand London Heathrow will benefit the economy by up to £61 billion – and create as many as 77,000 local jobs over the next 14 years.
However, the plans for a state-of-the-art Crossrail into central London could mean busy airport chauffeurs may see a drop in business as clients take a faster route into the city.
The cost of the runway is said to be more than £17 billion with a further £5 billion in new road and rail links. Disruption to the M25 will also mean chauffeurs could spend more time in traffic jams and having less business when the project is complete.
However, it’s not all bad news – an extra runway could mean Heathrow would see 740,000 flights a year which means it have an equal footing with Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam.
Greg Mendoza from Carey International commented;
“It’s not clear cut that any expansion will result in business increases for private hire – don’t forget that Crossrail will soon reach London Heathrow and make for very quick journey times from Canary Wharf and the City.
I would expect that to take demand out of the system, so best hope would be in the long run that increased capacity at London Heathrow and the impact of Crossrail will cancel each other out – although I suspect we will see a general decline in demand for those routes.
I believe the London Heathrow expansion is critical if London is to keep pace with the rest of Europe, particularly post Brexit. In fact, I see no reason why we can’t expand at London Gatwick also, there is clearly long term demand.”
Smaller companies in the industry have also been speaking about their plans, or lack of them, as it could be many years until any work begins on the project.
Chauffeur Jason Cobb;
“The M25 is bad enough with traffic now, sometimes it’s total gridlock. Now they want to build another runway, it’s absolutely obsurd. I think anyone who made this happen needs their heads tested. When this new runway is up and running it will increase traffic by what another 40%? So where will the traffic go?”
Robert Isaac who is also a chauffeur commented;
“I think Crossrail will take a lot of potential clients away. As a London chauffeur who lives in SE London, I’ve got to say I’m not too bothered as journeys home from there can often take 2hrs or more for very little reward.”
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David Burke from Alpha Executive Cars said;
“I’m all for forward business planning, but given that it will be at least ten years before a spade hits the ground at Heathrow, can’t say I need to give it any thought yet.
They’ll now be a barrage of legal challenges, appeals, delays, etc… If you go by the opinion of one FT journalist then the runway may never actually get built!”
It’s clear there are mixed feelings within the chauffeur industry on the back of the announcement.
With the forthcoming introduction of ULEZ in London, both the city and our industry could be a very diffident by the time any Heathrow developments have began and we have a clearer view on how it could affect the chauffeur business.
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