A joint bid by two local councils to land a Heathrow Logistics Hub in Co Antrim has moved a step closer.
Six sites in Northern Ireland – three of which are based locally - have been longlisted in the hunt for the hubs.
They are in the running to be called on to help build Heathrow's third runway; one of the UK’s largest privately funded infrastructure projects.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is heading up a bid to secure a hub in Northern Ireland, working alongside colleagues in Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and other key partners.
The innovative hubs will be used to pre-assemble components of the expanded airport before transporting them to Heathrow.
They will ensure a legacy of construction excellence across the UK.
The longlisted locations are North Foreshore, Belfast; Silverwood Business Park, Craigavon; Belfast International Airport, Crumlin; Global Point Business Park, Newtownabbey; Woodside Road, Ballymena, and Shackleton Barracks, Limavady.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Paul Reid, said: “I am confident we are ideally placed to deliver on this remarkable project and create a legacy for our citizens and those throughout the UK, capitalising on our area's talent, entrepreneurship and ambition.
“We are working closely with our partners so that our area is afforded the best possible opportunity to play a major role in this innovative scheme and we remain steadfastly committed to doing all that we can to secure a pioneering logistics hub.
“The overall project would benefit greatly from the high levels of expertise and infrastructure already firmly established here.”
Lord Deighton, Heathrow’s Chairman, added: “Heathrow’s third runway will rely on talent from all over the UK helping to create a national asset for generations to come. This means new procurement opportunities for businesses in every region, helping drive growth and investment into local communities in all corners of this country.
“The third runway is not a London centric project – it is one we are opening up to the whole of the UK, asking for its skills and expertise to help build an asset this country so desperately needs to safeguard its future prosperity.”
There are a total of 65 sites across the UK under consideration to be one of four selected locations.
The Heathrow expansion is the first major infrastructure project in the UK to pioneer the large-scale use of logistics hubs for the third runway which will lead to jobs created in every corner of the UK.