UK airports should all be allowed to grow, as long as there is enough demand for their services, according to the chairman of Heathrow.

The comments from Lord Deighton follow the London hub winning permission to expand with a third runway.

He said other airports should be allowed to follow suit.

“To the extent that those airports need an extra runway to be able to provide the slots to support economically supportable routes, absolutely,” he told The Sunday Telegraph.

“To the extent that there is business at these places, I’m comfortable with them expanding.”

Heathrow argues that as a hub airport it is better able to handle long-haul flights to relatively niche destinations.

If other UK airports grow – Lord Deighton highlighted Manchester and Edinburgh as examples – more flights will come into Heathrow to use it as a hub, while those regional airports can also offer more direct flights to the most popular destinations such as New York and Paris.

“Of course it has to be within the constraints of climate change and how much air traffic the country is prepared to support. I generally regard other airports as a supportive, rather than a competitive thing,” he added.