Brexit or no Brexit, the British International Freight Association (BIFA) has had enough. In an urgent message to the British government, BIFA said Prime Minister David Cameron’s administration, before it steps down in September, must stop delaying and move forward with the recommendations made by the Airports Commission by building more capacity at Heathrow Airport.
“In his resignation statement, David Cameron said he had always believed that big decisions had to be confronted, not ducked,” said Robert Keen, BIFA’s director general. Since last Thursday’s Brexit vote, he added, “we are now entering a period of great uncertainty on the political front, and BIFA members are worried that will result in big decisions being postponed, or abandoned completely.”
BIFA has publicized its dissatisfaction with the delay, which was already postponed last December, and pushed off to summer 2016. The trade association, which represents the U.K.’s freight forwarding and logistics businesses, is part of a wider group of aviation entities that are pushing for a third runway at Heathrow Airport.
Following last week’s vote, Heathrow also issued a strongly worded press release, calling for progress on the third runway. The country’s largest airport argued that, with the U.K. economy on its own and apart from the European Union, aviation would play a critical role in economic survival in the years ahead, and that current congestion at Heathrow is and will continue to be a severe impediment to trade.
Last July, the Airport Commission recommended the addition of a third runway at Heathrow. The proposed 3,500-meter runway would lie north of the two existing runways, and would have an estimated cost of £18.6 billion.
A BBC report from last December explained that the third runway had political and ecological implications that were holding it up. Both the Labour and Conservative contenders for Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and Zac Goldsmith, were against a third Heathrow runway – as were many Conservative members of Parliament and some ministers.
Now, with Cameron’s resignation in the works, BIFA and other aviation groups are concerned that the decision will be left to the next government, or abandoned altogether. The organization is calling on Cameron to live up to his mantra that, “big decisions had to be confronted, not ducked.”