Business leaders across the South are rallying support for Southampton Airport since the airport launched its second public consultation on plans to extend the runway by 164 meters.

Business South has engaged over 100 business champions to gather and communicate a collective voice from businesses on the pivotal role the airport plays in the economic viability of the Central South region.

Leigh-Sara Timberlake, Business South Group CEO said: “We are building a bank of support from our Business South Champions for the runway extension and long-term viability of the airport. We will be presenting this Supporter Pledge to Eastleigh Borough Council as part of the open public consultation next week.

“There is no denying the economic role the airport plays for the Central South, we are looking to achieve global recognition and gain momentum with the UK Government, loss of the airport will set the region back decades in its positioning. Post Coronavirus, the airport will play an essential role in our economic recovery. It provides vital transport connections, linking our region to the rest of the UK and western Europe, and giving our businesses, large and small, opportunities to grow and expand.”

Earlier this month, Southampton Airport operations director, Steve Szalay laid out the economic importance of the extension plans and highlighted that without approval the airport would face closure. He said: “With the impact to employment from this pandemic already weighing heavy, we can do something to secure the 2,000 jobs at the airport by getting this extension built.  It is about enabling us to use existing aircraft more efficiently and effectively and creating vital extra connectivity for the region. The extra length of runway will enable us to bring in the routes and airlines needed to drive the recovery of the economy and support local business and trade.”

Next week, Business South will be presenting its signed Supporter Pledge to Eastleigh Borough Council as part of the open public consultation. With under two weeks of the consultation left, Southampton Airport, together with Business South are urging local neighbours, businesses, and the wider community who benefit from the airport’s existence to register their support.