Business leaders at Harro-gate District Chamber of Commerce have warned that British Airways’ planned reduction in the number of flights between Leeds Bradford Airport and Heathrow from 20 to 10 a week could negatively impact the local economy.
They say the 50 per cent cut is “extremely disappointing” and fear that it will not only affect existing businesses but also discourage other businesses and some business events from coming to the district.
Chamber president Mike Procter said: “The introduction of direct services to Heathrow was something we campaigned for over many years.
“To now hear the services are being severely reduced is extremely disappointing. We have already heard from several local businesses who know this will limit their options when travelling, and reducing this important link can only discourage new businesses from moving into the Harrogate district.”
British Airways said the service was being changed to reflect demand, with at least one flight in each direction every day of the week and two on the busiest days.
However, opponents of the move have said the decision has not been made in the interests of business, but because Heathrow capacity is limited and long-haul routes are more profitable.
Leeds Bradford Airport has previously supported calls for capacity at Heathrow to be expanded, to enable airlines to continue providing much-needed internal flights as well as the long-haul routes.
Businesses affected by the decision are encouraged to contact Harrogate District Chamber, or attend one of the forthcoming meetings, on Monday, February 5 and Monday, March 12.
Last year, Leeds Bradford Airport saw over four million passengers pass through its gates .
A number of changes took place in 2017, including the appointment of David Laws as chief executive officer and the acquisition of the airport by AMP Capital.
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