Ken Skates has welcomed the Heathrow Business summit to Wales for the first time, describing it as vital in ensuring Welsh businesses benefit from the construction of a third runway.
Around 90 Welsh businesses have gathered in Cardiff to learn more about the existing supply chain opportunities and future associated with the Heathrow expansion which is expected to deliver up to 8,400 new skilled jobs and £6.2bn in economic growth in total.
The aim of the summit is to help Welsh based SMEs better understand the needs of Heathrow and its supply chain, and help them explore the associated opportunities for their businesses.
In March this year, the First Minister and Lord Deighton, Chairman of Heathrow Airport, signed a Statement of Intent aimed at improving collaborative working opportunities between Wales and Heathrow. Today’s Cardiff summit is as a direct result of that statement.
Speaking ahead of the summit, Ken Skates said:
“A third Heathrow runway will be Europe’s largest privately-funded infrastructure project, creating significant growth opportunities across the UK.
“We want to work constructively with Heathrow and their tier 1 suppliers to ensure that Welsh businesses have every opportunity to play their part in delivering this huge project which is expected to create up to 8,400 new skilled jobs and £6.2bn in economic growth.
“The Summit is a great platform for Welsh SMEs to get a foot in the door and capitalise on the business opportunities available at Heathrow while also gain a better understanding of the needs of the airport and its supply chain.
“It is this kind of pro-active and collaborative partnership approach that will ensure we spread prosperity to communities right across Wales.
“I am also delighted that Cardiff Airport will have a presence at the Summit which will allow Welsh SMEs to understand the needs of our own National airport and ensure that we maximise the Welsh supply chain opportunities for future projects there.”
Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow’s Executive Director for Expansion said:
“We’re keen to sustain a diverse supply chain and embrace innovation to help achieve new standards of delivery which includes Heathrow’s commitment to our Statement of Intent, with the Welsh Government.
“To do this, we need more SMEs from Wales to deliver innovative and affordable solutions for Britain.
“That’s why I’m excited to be hosting the Heathrow Business Summit in Cardiff this year so that we can tap into that pipeline of expertise and strengthen our new partnership with the Welsh Government and Welsh businesses.”