Let customers “fly to the markets” says business chief.
Paul Kehoe, CEO of Birmingham Airport, has today urged the Government to take a cautious response to the Airports Commission’s recommendations, as regional airports like Birmingham Airport continue to thrive.
The Airports Commission, led by Chairperson Sir Howard Davies, has spent the past three years looking into the future of UK aviation in order to make recommendations to the Government on the future of UK aviation, including the lack of capacity in the South-East.
Birmingham Airport has argued for a strategic network of long-haul airports throughout the UK, each supporting the comparative economic advantage of that region.
The Airports Commission has made an individual recommendation to Government for the Heathrow Northwest Runway scheme to be taken forward.
Birmingham Airport CEO Paul Kehoe said in reaction: “Over the past three years the Airports Commission has explored numerous options for resolving the South-East congestion, and we are incredibly grateful to all those in the region who have supported our case for a network of airports.
“Given the significant levels of growth we have seen at Birmingham Airport within this period, especially in long-haul routes, we urge the Government to move ahead with caution so as not to damage the ability of regional airports to grow.
“The Midlands is a powerful engine of growth at the heart of our country and needs direct aviation to succeed. With our £200 million investment in the Airport, including our runway extension allowing for this summer’s extended series of direct flights to Beijing, we are doing all we can to support the region’s businesses and leisure passengers.
“Whilst the Government continues to review all the evidence before it, Birmingham Airport looks forward to continuing the expansion of our long-haul offering in support of the region’s economy”.
Paul Faulkner, CEO of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, has also responded to the decision by the Commission: “Businesses tell us they want to be able to fly directly to their markets and not have to go through West London. We know the Government needs to deal with congestion in the South East, but we urge Ministers to move ahead in a way that does not restrict Birmingham’s own room to grow.”
Over the course of the past three years, Birmingham Airport has presented the Airports Commission with evidence of the role that Government marketing, road and rail investment and changes to taxation can play in making best use of existing UK runway capacity.
The Airports Commission has been provided with evidence of how an Air Passenger Duty ‘holiday’ for new long-haul routes would bring over 90,000 new passengers to Birmingham Airport each year.
In addition, working with Capital Economics and Steer Davies Gleave, Birmingham Airport has demonstrated that, with HS2, it will be the airport with the largest one-hour catchment area in the country, with over 15 million people a short journey away and thus able to offer an alternative to passengers in London.