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Communicator of the Week: Heathrow for their Airport Live program

25th June 2013

The uncertainty continues with regard to if, where or indeed when (if ever) airport capacity will be increased in the South East of England.

The debate circles over whether to build a third runway at Heathrow, a second at Gatwick or an entirely new mega hub airport - in the style of those which service passengers in South East Asia - somewhere in the Thames Estuary. This last idea, dubbed 'Boris Island' by the media, was once seen as a fanciful dream of London's Mayor Boris Johnson but, as uncertainty continues, is now a possible, if radical, solution.

Good infrastructure needs investment which only comes with certainty. The owners of Heathrow - formerly BAA, now also called Heathrow- are ever keen to push this point as well as talk up the passenger experience available at Heathrow.

Telling your story is always so much easier if people can actually witness first-hand and make up their own minds. This is why last week's 'Airport Live' was such a great idea. Unlike the tired format of 'fly-on-the-wall' documentaries which frequently make their subjects look like keen, if idiotic, amateurs 'Airport Live' went behind the scenes over four evenings meeting the professional staff who run the operation.

Each person we met - from air traffic controllers to pilots to ground staff and firemen - were almost perfectly on message, passionate about their jobs and positive about the importance of Heathrow for the UK. The work selecting then prepping these ambassadors for the airport must have been considerable but work well done.

Ahead of this week's Spending Review from the government this programme was a great way to gently illustrate the £11bn invested in the UK's only hub airport over the past decade. Whether chancellor George Osborne takes note remains to be seen, but this programme was a great attempt at positively telling its story, showing the importance of Heathrow to the British economy. That is why Heathrow is my Communicator of the Week.

Communicator of the Week is written by Edward Staite.

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