BUSINESSES across the North-East are gearing up to bid for work with one of the UK’s biggest infrastructure projects, as nearly 100 SMEs from across the region attend the Heathrow Business Summit in Newcastle today.

As Heathrow plans for the construction of a third runway, the airport is looking to discover more innovative UK businesses to help find the right solutions to the challenges it faces in delivering a project of this scale.

Heathrow is looking for businesses who could help with special projects including runway and infrastructure construction, off site or not, as well as new passenger services that might be required.

The airport is working to diversify its supply chain to ensure the airport delivers on its sustainable ambitions, including low carbon growth and UK-wide Heathrow Business Summits in all 12 UK regions. The event will help innovative SMEs connect with the airport’s major suppliers during scheduled one-on-one meetings to get acquainted with Heathrow’s work standards and requirements, along with upcoming opportunities to supply. The meetings should cement relationships which could also be leveraged for further work outside of Heathrow’s expansion project.

The summit comes just weeks after Heathrow’s announcement of a shortlist of logistics hub locations which will be needed across all corners of the UK to construct vital parts of the expanded Heathrow, off-site. In the running for the Nort- East is Tarmac’s Thrislington Works.

Off-site construction will help spread the jobs and apprenticeship benefits of expansion, and help deliver the project more sustainably by transporting assembled components in consolidated loads.

Heathrow’s Chief Information Officer Stuart Birrell said: “We’re really excited to once again be in the North East scouting for talent. North-East businesses have a proud tradition of innovation and bring their characteristic energy and enthusiasm to their work – that’s exactly what we’re looking for at Heathrow.

“We’re here today to tap into that talent and with nearly 100 North East SMEs attending our summit today, we’re sure to get more of your best businesses working alongside us to keep Britain’s biggest airport running smoothly.”

Marianne O Sullivan, policy adviser, North East England Chamber of Commerce said: “The Chamber have been supportive of Heathrow Expansion as it will help improve both domestic and international connectivity as well as creating jobs across the UK. It is really positive to see Heathrow engaging with innovative North East businesses to ensure that the economic benefits of such a large infrastructure project can be spread across the UK.”

Heathrow’s Business Summit will grow from ten last year to eleven events this year, putting Heathrow well on track to deliver on its commitment to establish Summits in all 12 regions of the UK by 2025.