Last week the UK Government approved the proposal for a third runway at Heathrow. It is a decision that Glasgow Chamber of Commerce supports.

Chief among the reasons for our backing is our preference for ready access to an expanding long haul route network.

We want our engineers, whisky distillers, bioscientists and academics to get to the fastest-growing markets and we want to make it easier for overseas students, conference delegates and leisure tourists to get to Glasgow.

Competitors have been making much faster progress. Frankfurt and Paris airports have, for example, been able to expand their connections to emerging market cities in China and South East Asia much faster than Heathrow.

Four years ago Frankfurt and Paris were offering 2,200 more flights every year to Chinese cities than Heathrow, which was already operating at maximum capacity. That imbalance is getting worse.

Adding a third runway allows Heathrow to respond and equally importantly it allows UK airports including Glasgow, Inverness or Edinburgh an opportunity to add more connections into the largest hub airport in Europe.

Whilst we can of course use other hub airports, Heathrow is by far the most important because our daily business with London far exceeds anything we would ever do with any other European airport.

Each flight from Glasgow to Heathrow has on average three people remaining to London for every one passenger making an onward connection overseas.

We heard strong arguments from the CEO of Gatwick as to why its proposal should be supported, but the case set out in the Airports Commission report swayed our choice.

The Commission made a clear statement that Heathrow was better placed to open up the long haul connections whilst Gatwick was more suited to expanding short haul destinations mainly into Europe.

Of course we also want to grow our short haul, but both Glasgow and Edinburgh airports have been very successfully doing that already with direct routes.

Yes Gatwick can expand its long haul offer too, but the Commission believed it would concentrate mostly on already popular destinations. We need the expansion to be into those Chinese and South East Asian cities that are rapidly transforming the global balance of economic power.

Ultimately Gatwick’s primary argument has been that Heathrow will never be delivered because it is too politically difficult.

We have another year of consultation to go through before a final vote in Parliament settles that argument.

Stuart Patrick is chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce