The 25th edition of the Heathrow Summit will be held on Thursday, 16th November 2023 at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Heathrow. As Heathrow marks their 25th anniversary, this event will provide the opportunity to promote economic growth in the local community for SMEs, suppliers, and Heathrow strategic partners.

This year’s Business Summit will highlight ways in which SMEs can help Heathrow continue to grow sustainably. With speeches from Heathrow’s senior representatives and suppliers showcasing procurement prospects, the Summit is a unique opportunity for local SMEs to find out how they can work with the airport’s suppliers.

The London West Innovation Network had worked with Heathrow to call for expressions of interest from local SMEs to showcase and exhibit at their Summit.

The theme and the core aim for this year’s summit is “Let’s Do Business” providing the chance for attendees to get to know more about Heathrow procurement, their Tier 1 suppliers and the potential journey for SMEs when seeking new business opportunities.  This will enable SMEs to:

  • have tangible opportunities over the next 12-18 months to work with Heathrow and its supply chain
  • engage with Heathrow tier one suppliers (e.g. Costain, Fujitsu, Atkins and Mitie etc)
  • share information on products and services with attendees directly on exhibition stands.

The Business Exhibition as part of the summit which will give SMEs and larger companies the opportunity to showcase their products and services to a wide audience. Whilst the summit will be free to attend, exhibition spaces are limited.

Heathrow is particularly keen on learning about solutions and services around the following areas:

  • Civils engineering works on street – Civil engineering work provider for works on streets and parking areas.
  • Lifts & Escalators qualified engineers 
  • Security checkpoint system
  • Hold Baggage Xray solutions
  • Specialised ramp equipment to support assistance passengers e.g. Hi-lifts
  • Roofing contractor (airside)
  • UPS maintenance contractor (airside)
  • Information technology products and services
  • Cable infrastructure installation and procurement e.g. Fibre Optics, Networking
  • Ground Investigation Subcontractors
  • Material Testing Subcontractors in Construction
  • Parking related innovation – service or infrastructure
  • Sustainability in lift and escalator products or services
  • MRF – mobile recycling facilities allowing the segregation and sale of items currently going to landfill.
  • CAFM (Computer Assisted Facility Management) system – new or retrofit
  • Off-site manufacturing and construction solution (airside)
  • Low carbon concrete solutions – products or services
  • Operational vehicle dispatching software packages
  • Other carbon & sustainability initiatives

The event will represented by local stakeholder, experts, and senior Heathrow will join to discuss the partnership and procurement opportunities for Heathrow and the wider region. Some of the speakers include Andrew Dakers, CEO of West London Business and co-chair of LWIN, Becky Coffin, Communities and Sustainability Director and Alan Rides, CEO of West London Chambers.


There will also be additional opportunities at the Summit as Heathrow and suppliers will be holding a series of Lift Off panels (a dragon’s den type of pitch) at the event.  More details on these will follow.  See https://londonwestinnovation.global/heathrow-portal/ for more information.

Read more and register here.

Heathrow is inviting applications for their Q3 Lift Off opportunity. The theme is Data and Technology Solutions and the deadline for applications is Friday, 28th July at 5pm.

Heathrow’s Lift Off is a new concept developed in 2022 as an additional way for the airport to attract and work with SMEs. It provides a platform for selected organisations to present their products and services to and connect with a panel made up of Heathrow and its largest supply chain partner organisations.

The theme for this opportunity will be Data and Technology Solutions, which covers a broad range of products and services in different areas, including: recycling technologies, self-service passenger support and other passenger assistance technologies, technical initiatives in building and facility management including CCTV and other assets, solutions improvement in Health and Safety etc.

Please ensure you are registered on Compete for to apply for Lift Off. CompeteFor is Heathrow’s chosen supply chain opportunities platform. The platform advertises opportunities from Heathrow and their wider supply chain. It is also used by other national organisations and governmental departments to advertise tenders. You can expect initial registration to take around 30 minutes.

The final Lift Off panel for 2023 will take place at the 25th annual Heathrow Business Summit in November. Stay tuned to updates from LWIN to know more.


London West Innovation Network (LWIN) has launched the Heathrow Portal, in collaboration with Heathrow, for innovative and high-growth SMEs to engage with the UK’s only international hub airport. Heathrow is a longstanding member of West London Business, and a board member of London West Innovation Network.

The new Heathrow Portal is available now and contains a wealth of information from doing business with the airport and gaining insights into future strategies to simply planning your journey.

Some of the recently opened opportunities at Heathrow include the Lift Off, a new concept developed as an additional way for Heathrow to attract and work with Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to be a part of their partner supply chain organisations. Competefor is a free supplier platform that enables businesses to compete for contract opportunities linked to large-scale public and private buying organisations.

You can use the portal to:

  • Register your interest in the Heathrow’s new programmes like Lift Off and Competefor
  • Find out more about the annual Heathrow Business Summit and register to attend
  • Get access to Heathrow Careers and discover upcoming job fairs and aviation careers guidance
  • Read strategic documents around Heathrow’s future including the Heathrow 2.0 Sustainability Startegy
  • Plan your journey to Heathrow from anywhere in the UK

Amelia Grant, Head of LWIN Membership, said of the new portal:

“When Heathrow approached us wanting to support LWIN Members in how to engage with the airport and its major suppliers, we jumped at the chance. The LWIN Heathrow Portal provides a one-stop-shop for our members to see all that is on offer from Heathrow in one place. The portal not only provides helpful information and facts, but also actionable opportunities for our innovative SMEs to develop a relationship with a view to becoming part of Heathrow’s supply chain.”

Following the successful launch of Lift Off in March, Heathrow’s procurement team is calling for applications from innovative SME’s for the next Lift Off event, which will take place end of June. Register your interest by Friday 28 April – 5.30pm

Heathrow’s Lift Off is a new concept as an additional way to attract and work with Small to Medium EnterprisesLift Off will provide the opportunity for selected innovative SMEs to present their products and services to a panel made up of Heathrow and their largest supply chain partner organisations. The first ever Lift Off event took place on Monday 13 March at the Compass Centre. The event focussed on the theme of sustainability for SMEs who applied through Heathrow’s recently launched CompeteFor platform. The events will run on a quarterly basis focused around chosen themes that differ at each event throughout the year.

CompeteFor is Heathrow’s chosen supply chain opportunities platformThe platform advertises opportunities from Heathrow and their wider supply chain. It is also used by other national organisations and governmental departments to advertise tenders. All organisations wishing to participate in Lift Off are required to complete registration on the CompeteFor platform. You can expect initial registration to take around 30 minutes.

If you have a focus on innovation which could benefit Heathrow’s focus on passenger experience then register your interest via CompeteFor by Friday 28 April – 5.30pm. Once you have registered, or if your organisation already has a CompeteFor profile, you can login and select the Lift Off Event Q2 2023 opportunity.

If you would like to revisit the March Lift Off event and find out more about the Lift Off panel and participating SMEs, you can read the March information brochure. To view the full range of current Heathrow procurement opportunities, visit www.competefor.com/heathrow/. 

Virgin Atlantic is all set to launch its first net zero flight powered by sustainable fuel. The airlines will resort to Sustainable Aviation Fuel, or SAF made predominantly from agricultural and forestry waste, rather than fossil fuels, which has the potential to reduce carbon emissions by 70 per cent.

Virgin Atlantic won the competition and 1£ million in funding to pioneer powering a 100% sustainable aircraft launched by the Department of Transport of the UK Government, in partnership with Innovate UK, the government’s innovation agency in December last year. They will be supported by Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Imperial College London, University of Sheffield, Rocky Mountain Institute and ICF.

Aviation has been one of the hardest sectors to decarbonise and is set to be the highest-emitting sector by 2050 unless properly intervened. The Jet Zero strategy was published by the UK Government to tackle the crisis, which set the airlines’ approach for decarbonising the sector and SAF acts as one of the main tools for the same. 

One of Virgin Atlanta’s flagship, Boeing 787s will fly from London Heathrow Airport to the John F Kennedy airport in New York. The flight is set to take off from the UK this year. The SAF, fuelling the flight is made primarily from waste oils and fats, such as used cooking oil. While this reduces carbon emissions by 70%, the airline will have biochar credits which will offset the 30% by absorbing additional CO2 back from the atmosphere to remove the greenhouse gas potential.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said,

“For decades, flying from London to New York has symbolised aviation’s ability to connect people and drive international progress. It’s now going to be at the forefront of cutting carbon emissions from flying”

Shai Weiss, the CEO of Virgin Atlantic also mentioned,

“As an airline founded on and committed to innovation, we’re proud to lead a cross-country consortium of partners to make aviation history by operating the first ever 100% SAF flight across the Atlantic. Virgin Atlantic’s inaugural flight in 1984 was to New York and continues to be one of our popular routes … the research and results will be a huge step in fast-tracking SAF use across the aviation industry supporting the investment, collaboration and urgency needed to produce SAF at scale”

Apart from contributing significantly to the sustainability of the environment, the production of SAF also has the potential to improve fuel security and support green jobs. It is expected to create a UK industry with an annual turnover of £2.3 billion by 2040, also creating up to 5,200 jobs by 2035.


Project Napkin aims to help inform Government, and the industry more broadly, to better understand the opportunities, challenges and conditions required to enable zero-carbon emissions flights. It evaluates each part of the future aviation system to model the impact of modified and original aircraft concepts on ‘five As’ of Aircraft, Airport, Airspace, Airline, and Air Passenger. In doing so, it is shedding light on the ground infrastructure, energy demand, noise performance, and passenger response.

The NAPKIN consortium formed in spring 2020 and commenced grant funded work in November 2020. The consortium features three airports/airport groups (Heathrow, London City, Highlands and Islands), three manufacturers (GKN Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, Cranfield Aerospace Solutions), three academic institutions (University College London, Cranfield University and the University of Southampton) and Deloitte.

While the focus for the consortium is the UK sub-regional and regional market (<100 pax), it is expected that the learnings can be applied across markets globally. It is also the shared view that hydrogen aircraft represent a credible solution to reach zero-carbon flight and are the natural complement to Sustainable Aviation Fuels.

Within the scope of advancing zero-carbon emission regional connectivity, NAPKIN has explored the conditions necessary to enable the successful introduction of Zero-carbon Emission Flight (ZEF) in the UK for domestic air travel. The project relies on a model of affordable domestic sustainable aviation with a potential to address climate and connectivity challenges together. It is based on the belief that regional and sub-regional hydrogen-powered flight presents an economic and environmental opportunity the UK must consider.

Rolls-Royce, GKN Aerospace and Cranfield Aerospace Solutions developed a series of hydrogen fuelled aircraft concepts with capacities from 7 to 90 seats, both retrofit and clean sheet (the ‘NAPKIN fleet’). The design process benefitted from the creation of hydrogen technology roadmaps to identify key challenges in the aerospace industry to unlock the zero-carbon potential in the sector.

However, uptake of these concepts will depend on whether the right market conditions for airline profitability are in place. For instance, new ground infrastructure will be required at individual airport and national level to enable regional uptake, depending on the airport size. Project Napkin presents what new infrastructure will be required to deliver hydrogen to airports and aircrafts, as well as potential changes to airport operations, including a focus on noise performance.

Similarly, the project recommends the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) to be accelerated to provide the air transport industry with a sustainable solution in the short-term while zero-carbon emission aircraft are being developed to offer a complementary solution.

In terms of technology, NAPKIN has developed a viable technology aircraft based on technology assumptions broadly in line with those of the wider industry published views, including FlyZero. Significant reductions in UK domestic CO2 emissions using hydrogen aircraft will also require use of SAF with conventional aircraft at least during the transition period. The respective role of each technology will be driven by the economics and policy choices regarding green hydrogen production, airport infrastructure, the competitiveness of new hydrogen aircraft both economically and technologically, and their rate of penetration into airline fleets.

Read the full project report here.