Vince Cable backs Birmingham, while Boris pushes for Stansted expansion (and the estuary)
Vince Cable gives backing to Birmingham Airport campaign
18.6.2012 (Birmingham Post)
The flight hub recently launched a new London publicity campaign (see below) to persuade the Government to throw its support behind Birmingham at the expense of a third runway at Heathrow.
Mr Cable said in response to the campaign: “Birmingham is very anxious to expand its airport capacity, to build up a really serious international airport, and there is no resistance from residents.
Mr Cable said extra runway capacity at an airport in the South East could take years to deliver.
He was backed in his calls for expansion at Birmingham by Jim French, chief executive of airline Flybe, the biggest carrier serving regional airports.
Mr French said: “We very much see Birmingham as a potential relief valve to Heathrow.
“It is an obvious thing to look at in light of the third runway situation.”
Birmingham Airport chief executive Paul Kehoe said: “Heathrow isn’t the only way to fly to new markets. Policymakers have been infatuated with seeing airport expansion in the South East as the only solution.
“Heathrow has been throwing its weight about trying to get a third runway, but this reliance on a centralised airport system in the South-East has made the industry too regional, uncompetitive and inflexible.
“There are 42 million other people in the UK outside of the South East that require air transportation to these brand new markets in India, China and Brazil.”
Birmingham Airport’s runway extension will be completed by 2014.
Birmingham makes bid for longer runway
18 June 2012
A regional airport is launching an ambitious bid to quadruple its passenger numbers to tackle Britain’s aviation needs.
Birmingham airport argued that its longer runway would eventually allow 36 million people to use it a year — far more than a third runway at Heathrow would cater for.
Birmingham chiefs will unveil their plans in the Commons next week as the Government is looking at increasing airport capacity in the South-East. Airport chief executive Paul Kehoe said: “The debate rolls on over whether to build a brand new airport in the Thames Estuary or revisit a third runway, but both are fraught with political dangers and are years away from being built. We should utilise the existing capacity that airports like Birmingham have now.”
The West Midlands airport has nine million passengers a year. Its bosses say the passenger numbers could double without any new infrastructure and after its runway extension, due to be completed in 2014, it will have spare capacity for another 27 million passengers.
Meanwhile, Boris is pushing for Stansted as his stop-gap runway:
Boris Johnson backs second runway at Stansted Airport as stop-gap before creation of Thames ‘hub’
18.6.2012 (Daily Mail)
Boris Johnson has clashed with David Cameron over the plans for another runway at Stansted Airport, by saying it would be a ‘fantastic step in the right direction’.
Johnson wants the expansion plans at Stansted to go ahead in a bid to solve the South-East’s air capacity crisis.
Johnson’s long-term plan is to build a new aiport in the Thames Estuary.
He launched an attack on the Government after David Cameron refused to rule out reconsidering expanding Heathrow following the next election in 2015.
Johnson accused the Prime Minister of using ‘divide and rule’ tactics and said his comments about a third runway at Heathrow were ‘a ruse designed to dissipate the energy of a campaign for a new airport’.
Mr Johnson is the most senior figure to call for a new runway at Stansted. The Crossrail project would be extended to serve the airport.
‘It would be a good interim solution,’ he said. ‘A lot of money is now moving on to Stansted and the possibility of a high-speed rail link up there. You could be just as fast, if not faster, than at Heathrow.’
His comments will be seen as an acceptance that the Government will not immediately opt for his favoured solution of a four-runway mega-hub — dubbed Boris Island — to be built in the Thames Estuary.
‘If we built another runway at Stansted and put in a high-speed line that would be a fantastic step in the right direction,’ he added. ‘And then [we can] look at another hub. All options must be looked at.’
In an interview with New York Magazine published yesterday Mr Johnson again hinted that he may make a bid to lead the Tory Party in the future.
He said: ‘We have to have a new airport. One of the only reasons I want to assume supreme power in England is to make sure that happens. For God’s sake, don’t quote me saying that.’
In his most outspoken attack yet on the Coalition, Mr Johnson told the Standard he believed Mr Cameron was simply trying to ‘muddy the waters’ by hinting at a possible Heathrow U-turn.
He said: ‘The whole decision to re-open [discussion about] Heathrow is designed to cause confusion — to muddy the waters and allow the process to become delayed for as long as possible. It’s a procrastination device.
‘The Government strategy at the moment is divide and rule. It’s a ruse designed to dissipate the energy of a campaign for a new airport.’
‘Boris Island’, as the project has been nicknamed, is the long-term option favoured by Boris Johnson. It involves the building of a new airport near the Isle of Sheppey and would operate 24 hours a day
Mr Cameron last week repeated the position in the Coalition agreement of no Heathrow expansion until 2015. But he said MPs should not be ‘blind’ to the need to expand airport capacity.
A growing number of backbench Conservative MPs believe a bigger Heathrow is needed to boost Britain’s links to China and other emerging markets.
Carol Barbone, campaign director of Stop Stansted Expansion, said: ‘Stansted is only operating at half its permitted capacity as it is. If the market was interested in using Stansted we would be seeing increasing passenger numbers rather than a month-on-month decline for the past five years. Boris is clutching at straws given the opposition to the Thames Estuary airport.’
A spokesman for airport operator BAA said: ‘Building a new runway at Stansted will not solve the UK’s hub airport capacity crisis. All a second runway at Stansted would achieve would be to increase the amount of spare capacity there.’
Birmingham Airport recent advertising campaign:
“Chocks away as Birmingham Airport hits road to London” – ad campaign
June 7, 2012 This is yet more publicity for Birmingham airport, to position itself as the solution to the airport capacity problem that is alleged for the south east. There are now roadside billboards in Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire or Oxfordshire warning motorists of “Heathrow: congestion ahead” and questioning whether or not they are “Going in the right direction?” if heading to a London airport. And the strap-line of this high profile advertising campaign delivers the main message: “Birmingham makes more sense.” Paul Kehoe continues his campaign to boost his airport, saying that after a £200 million investment programme, they could handle an extra 9 million passengers a year. etc Click here to view full story.