Birmingham sets sights on China flights
Paul Kehoe, the CEO of Birmingham airport, is planning to start direct flights to China as an alternative to services from the south-east. He visited the Chinese city of Chengdu for the Routes Asia aviation conference last week and met with airlines to discuss possible direct flights between Birmingham and China. Birmingham is hoping to attract long-haul services from the airport once its runway extension is completed in 2014, and said feedback from the airlines had been positive. Kehoe says direct China flights from Birmingham will bring investment to the region, and giving airlines and passengers an alternative to battling with London’s congestion problems.
Birmingham airport is targeting its first direct flights to China as an alternative to services from the south-east.
The airport’s CEO Paul Kehoe visited the Chinese city of Chengdu for the Routes Asia aviation conference last week and met with airlines to discuss possible direct flights between Birmingham and China.
Birmingham is hoping to attract long-haul services from the airport once its runway extension is completed in 2014.
Kehoe said: “We hear so much from BAA about the UK losing lucrative new routes because of the capacity constraints at Heathrow but the south-east isn’t the only solution.
“Our runway extension will allow aircraft to fly direct from China, bringing investment to the region, and giving airlines and passengers an alternative to battling with London’s congestion problems.”
Kehoe said that feedback from the airlines had been “positive” and he pointed out the industrial and cultural links between Birmingham and China, particularly in the car production industry.
“We now need the UK government to endorse Birmingham airport, when it releases its aviation policy review later this year, as a national airport that can offer a rapid and cost-effective solution to the aviation gap,” added Kehoe.
The airport currently caters for nine million passengers a year but Kehoe said this could be doubled within its current infrastructure and rise to 36 million by 2030 with the new runway.
“Our runway extension is already under construction and will be complete early in 2014,” he added.
“The UK government has said there will be no additional runway capacity for flights into London; it is therefore critical for airports such as Birmingham to deliver direct long-haul flights and this kind of positive commercial discussion paves the way for that to happen.”
The government is due to reveal its aviation strategy this summer and has said it will consider all options to increase capacity in the south-east except building a third runway at Heathrow which continues to be ruled out.
Kehoe says BAA claims are a con, and Chinese companies are happy to fly to Birmingham, by-passing Heathrow
April 22, 2012 We have heard many aviation lobbyists claiming that if business people cannot get direct flights from Heathrow to a multitude of destinations, Britain’s economy is doomed. Now Paul Kehoe, CEO of Birmingham airport, publicly disagrees, wanting to persuade those in power that flights to or from Birmingham will be quite acceptable to commerce, and can bypass Heathrow. And Birmingham gets the profit. He says BAA is “trying to conflate the wider British economic interest with the interests of Heathrow”. Kehoe says the claims that Britain’s economy requires new runways in the south-east are a “con” that an industry dominated by BAA will not question. He says he was in Chengdu recently, talking to Chinese airlines that were considering any entry point into the UK. Kehoe says the Chinese he had spoken to would be happy to come to Birmingham: “they see the UK as an important market and don’t care how they get there.” So lots of in-fighting within the industry, like dogs over a bone … They all want the money … Click here to view full story…
Passengers to and from CHINA – HEATHROW
BEIJING 2010 275 058 2009 299 858
SHANGHAI 2010 331 756 2009 236 386
Total CHINA 2010 606 814 2009 536 244
HONG KONG 2010 1 386 779 2009 1 528 886
(which shows all the airports and destinations for 2010 and 2009)
The 2011 figures are at
(with virtually no passengers to China from Gatwick (77) and Manchester (209)