Published Thursday, 15 November 2012
Heathrow Airport in London. (© Getty)
Heathrow chiefs want to see an extra runway at the west London airport but this has been ruled out for now by Westminster, amid calls for alternative airfields to be developed.
Ann McGregor from the NI Chamber of Commerce agrees with Heathrow that one hub is vital if local firms are to forge trade connections.
She said: "To support trade and Northern Ireland's economy, it is vital for our firms to have connections to these emerging markets.
"As today's report shows, a single hub airport is the only viable option to make this a reality."
The report from Heathrow claims lack of capacity is already costing the UK up to £14bn per year in lost trade, adding that the figure could rise to £26bn by 2030.
Some residents and environmentalists oppose the addition of runways.
However Ms McGregor said increased overseas trade will be vital for the NI economy in years to come and will rebalance an overreliance on the public sector.
She continued: "While firms are being urged to trade with new partners in emerging markets, they are hindered by the lack of connections to these countries, in turn hurting both inward investment and Britain's export potential.
"This is a real issue for Northern Ireland as we have dozens of members that trade with or aspire to do business with the likes of Brazil, India and China."