Third Heathrow runway proposal supported by Scottish Government
The Scottish Government has backed the building of a third runway at Heathrow.
Ministers claimed expanding the west London hub will provide a number of benefits for Scotland, including new jobs and more flights.
Economy Secretary Keith Brown insisted that building an extra runway at Heathrow rather than Gatwick would be "the best deal for Scotland".
He said the proposal from Heathrow would lead to the creation of 16,000 new jobs in Scotland and a reduction in landing charges paid by airlines operating services from Heathrow to Scotland.
The plan could also see Glasgow Prestwick Airport used as a logistics hub for the construction of a third runway, and the potential for a "substantial increase" in direct flights between Heathrow and Scotland.
Mr Brown told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme: "In the absence of action from the UK Government, we have made this decision and we would urge them to act as quickly as possible."
Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed last week that the UK Government would "shortly announce" a decision on which airport expansion project will get the go ahead.
The Davies Commission recommended in July last year that a third runway should be built at Heathrow. Other shortlisted options are extending the airport's existing northern runway or building a second runway at Gatwick.
Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye claimed a third runway would "work for every region" of the UK.
He said: "An expanded Heathrow would create up to 16,000 jobs in Scotland.
"It would facilitate more airlines flying routes to Scottish airports, meaning more flights, more competition and choice for families and businesses across the nation.
"That also means more visitors to Scotland, more destinations for Scottish tourists and more opportunity for Scottish businesses to reach new export markets.
"This partnership demonstrates how Heathrow expansion can work for every region and nation of the UK. Now is the time for the UK Government to make the right choice and back Heathrow."
Mr Brown warned that without Heathrow expansion the UK's position of having a hub airport would be weakened - to the disadvantage of Scotland and the environment - due to competition from cities such as Amsterdam, Dubai and Istanbul.
He added that there were a range of positives for Scotland from the building of an additional runway at Heathrow.
"There's a benefit to passengers, there's a benefit to the tourist industry, there's a benefit to the construction industry," he said.
"It's my job as Cabinet Secretary for the Economy and Jobs to look after those things for Scotland. This is a good deal for Scotland."
Gatwick claimed that its passenger figures for September demonstrate the "appetite" for an expansion at the West Sussex airport, which can be delivered "quickly with less risk and lower impact" than Heathrow.
Some 4.3 million passengers travelled through Gatwick in September, up 6.9% on the same month in 2015.
The airport said that it will begin serving flights to and from Cape Town and Moscow in the coming weeks, in addition to the 20 new long haul routes this year including destinations in China, Peru, Canada, Costa Rica, Nigeria and the US.
Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said: "Gatwick's continued record-breaking growth shows we can deliver for Britain. We are already decades ahead of predictions on passenger and long haul growth and the demand for expansion at Gatwick is clear to see.
"Airport expansion has failed to get off the ground in the past because of insurmountable obstacles such as the air quality and noise impacts that make Heathrow undeliverable.
"It is time for a new solution."