As business leaders from across the South, we are proud to stand behind Southampton Airport and support its runway extension plans.

Southampton Airport is an absolutely critical part of the region’s economy. The airport 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. The value of this regional connectivity is measured in the thousands of jobs and livelihoods which directly depend on easy access to cities and markets from Paris to Amsterdam and Edinburgh to Dublin.

However, following the collapse of Flybe – which provided 80% of its routes – the viability of Southampton Airport is at very real risk. The airport’s runway length is no longer suitable for today’s modern airline fleets, so there is now an urgent and pressing need to attract new airlines to the airport.

If Southampton Airport is to survive and thrive as a regional airport, it will be critical to allow them to extend their runway. They have submitted a planning application to Eastleigh Borough Council seeking permission for a 164 metre runway extension within their existing boundaries. This short extension will make the airport economically viable for a wider range of airlines – guaranteeing the survival of our local airport and safeguarding regional connectivity.

As local employers, we urge Eastleigh Borough Council to permit the runway extension and safeguard the future of Southampton Airport. The scheme will not only protect the thousands of jobs on the airport site, but also save the countless jobs in businesses like ours which depend on this regional connectivity. This runway extension will also unlock the economic potential of the site, and make it possible to unlock the Chickenhall Link Road and North Western Business Park, both of which offer significant economic benefits to Eastleigh residents.

As local employers, we know that the only alternative would be the cost and inefficiency of flying out of London airports, which will force more cars onto the motorways, increasing congestion and generating thousands of tonnes of unnecessary carbon emissions.

Southampton is our local airport. To support it, please complete the short survey available at www.southamptonairport.com/consultation