NEECCRoss Smith, Director of Policy, the Chamber said: “This can has been kicked down the road over and over again, and it represents a complete lack of leadership by the Government on this crucial issue for businesses.

“I firmly believe that Government will ultimately agree to expand Heathrow because it is the only logical decision – the question is how much UK competitiveness will be damaged by the repeated delays in reaching that point.

“North East exporters play a vital role in the national economy. They need access to global markets and that has to come in large part via the UK’s hub airport.

“One thing we hope to see after the decision to leave the EU is the strengthening of trade links right around the globe. Businesses can only benefit from that if they can actually get there.”