Heathrow issues call to action to Scottish SMEs


“Scottish SMEs have a bigger role to play in Heathrow’s supply chain – and we’re going to do something about it by bringing our supply chain to Scotland,” Heathrow declared at the SNP’s spring conference this weekend. With strengths in complex manufacturing, innovation and engineering, SMEs in Scotland have the expertise that Heathrow needs more of to keep the UK’s biggest airport running smoothly every day of the year.

Announcing the first ever Business Summit Glasgow, Heathrow called on Scottish businesses to prepare to play a larger role in the airport’s supply chain. To be held in October, the event is a firm commitment to Scottish SMEs to support and create new skilled jobs north of the border.

This will build on the successful track-record that Scottish SMEs have already built with Heathrow’s supply chain – most recently helping to deliver Terminal 2: The Queen’s Terminal on-time and on-budget. Bison Manufacturing based in Uddingston was contracted to provide 40,000 square metres of pre-stressed flooring slabs for Terminal 2’s new 1,300 space car park. The £1.5 million contract accounted for 50% of the factory’s output for eight months, with 20 staff from the local area retained to help meet the increased workload.

The Business Summit Glasgow will also give Scottish SMEs an early foot in the door to secure the contracts that will deliver an expanded Heathrow. The day will consist of speed-dating style sessions of interviews with procurement managers representing businesses based at the airport and will give SMEs the confidence to participate in delivering what is one of the largest infrastructure projects in the UK. The Summit also provides an opportunity for Scottish SMEs to forge new relationships with some of the UK’s largest suppliers which could be leveraged throughout the wider supply chain in addition to Heathrow expansion.

Heathrow’s Executive Procurement Director Ian Ballentine said:
“Scotland has a long and vibrant history in engineering and manufacturing – skills which are critical to keep the UK’s biggest airport running smoothly every day of the year. Business Summit Glasgow and Liz Cameron’s strategic review on accessing the Scottish supply chain are great opportunities for Heathrow to tap into that expertise, strengthen our links with SMEs north of the border and make Heathrow a little bit more ‘Made in Scotland.’”

Minister for Transport and Islands Derek Mackay said:
“I welcome the announcement of Heathrow’s Business Summit in Glasgow, the first time it’s been held in Scotland, which will give businesses a chance to get first hand advice on how they can benefit more significantly from Heathrow’s extensive supply chain now and in the future.

“There is no doubt that improving access to global markets will benefit our local and national economies, as will strengthening the ability of Scottish small and medium sized businesses to secure contracts at the main London airports.

“I wish Heathrow Airport and Glasgow Chamber of Commerce every success with this event and encourage businesses from around Scotland take part.”

To further maximise opportunities for Scottish suppliers to engage directly with Heathrow, Liz Cameron OBE (Director and Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce) will be undertaking a strategic review into how the airport can best access the great supply chain in Scotland and support building Scottish skills and capability. This review will be published later this year.

Liz Cameron OBE, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce said:

“Scottish firms already make a big contribution to the construction and running of Heathrow, but with possible expansion brings more opportunities. My review will ensure Scotland is well-placed to benefit from the jobs, up-skilling and growth generated from such a significant private sector infrastructure project.”

Ed Monaghan, Chair of Construction Scotland, welcomed the Business Summit Glasgow:

“This Summit will be an excellent opportunity for the Industry in Scotland to demonstrate its breadth and depth of capabilities. Construction Scotland is delighted to be able to work alongside the Chamber in connecting the Industry with Heathrow and its supply chain. I’m certain the event will be great success.”