The British Chambers of Commerce ("BCC") and Heathrow Airport released a joint press release this morning (26 January 2012) detailing the results of their research with business leaders in high growth and emerging economies (Brazil, China, India, South Korea, and Mexico). Click here for link to press release.

The research to which they refer shows the importance of direct flight connections between business leaders' home countries and those countries with whom they are likely to do business with. The press release states that 80% of those surveyed said they would trade more with the UK if flight connections were improved to their home markets.

This vindicates the position of the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and other stakeholders in seeking to help promote direct flights to Glasgow Airport. (Click here for the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce Connect to Compete – transport priorities document).

To the extent that the Glasgow and wider Scottish economy remains reliant upon international air connectivity through London airports, we need sufficient capacity with convenient timing for onward flights.

Last year saw the withdrawal of the BMI service from Glasgow to Heathrow. Now only BA provides flights to Heathrow. This leaves Glasgow vulnerable to being isolated from Heathrow if BA is affected by any issues, as they have been in recent years through strike action.

The research emphasises how off putting to business a lack of direct flights can be. If (in the absence of direct flights) suitable services to feed to Heathrow are not available then Glasgow should seek to build and maintain connections with other European hub airports.

Business and other passengers, and hence the market will gravitate towards carriers and hubs that can provide the connections modern business requires.

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