Birmingham business leaders condemn Airports Commission for not recognising Birmingham Airport’s economic potential
Business leaders in Birmingham have criticised the Airports Commission’s interim report, released on 17th December, for overlooking the “crucial role” Birmingham Airport could play, in allegedly supporting the local and national economy. The Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) said the potential for the airport to capture thousands of new passengers was not being considered. It has written to MPs Louise Ellman, chair of the Common’s Transport Select Committee, and committee member Chloe Smith to outline its view. The GBCC would like to invite Ms Ellman and other members of the Transport Select Committee to visit businesses in Birmingham “to showcase how Birmingham Airport can help drive the export-led recovery.” The GBCC says it is pleased that Birmingham Airport has been identified as a long-term option for development. They say that “the catchment area for Birmingham Airport is home to half a million businesses (approximately 25% of British business) and has the largest share of manufacturing activity of all airport catchment areas.” Also that the Commission “could have gone much further in exploring the role of both HS2 and other economic assets across the West Midlands.”
Business leaders condemn government report for not recognising Birmingham Airport’s economic potential
3rd February 2014 (The Business Desk)
By Duncan Tift – Deputy Editor
Business leaders in Birmingham have criticised a government report on the future of UK airports for overlooking the “crucial role” Birmingham Airport could play.
The Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce said the potential for the airport to capture thousands of new passengers was not being considered.
It has written to MPs Louise Ellman, chair of the Common’s Transport Select Committee, and committee member Chloe Smith to outline its view.
GBCC chief executive Jerry Blackett said he was disappointed the recent Airports Commission interim report had overlooked the crucial role Birmingham Airport played in supporting the local and national economy.
“I would be delighted to invite you and other members of the Transport Select Committee to visit businesses in Birmingham to showcase how Birmingham Airport can help drive the export-led recovery,” he told the MPs.
“While we are pleased that Birmingham Airport has been identified as a long-term option for development in the Airports Commission, we believe that the report has not demonstrated a modal shift in UK aviation policy and has not fully examined the role of aviation in supporting the rebalancing of the UK economy.
“The catchment area for Birmingham Airport is home to half a million businesses (approximately 25% of British business) and has the largest share of manufacturing activity of all airport catchment areas.”
The potential of the airport to attract new business has never been better underlined than the decision by low cost carrier Flybe to increase the number of flights it makes from the airport.
In one of its largest ever investment in regional services, the airline is launching seven new flights from Birmingham, siting three new jets at the airport and creating 50 new jobs.
It says the expansion is warranted because of the potential of the airport to attract the new business.
The move has also established Birmingham as its largest regional base.
Blackett adds: “In 2008, the value of West Midlands exports stood at around £16.8bn. By 2012, this had increased to £22.6bn, with exports to Asia growing rapidly. The Birmingham Airport runway extension, opening later this year, will put the airport in the top six longest runways thus enabling longer haul flights.
“Businesses in the Birmingham Airport catchment area are exporting more goods to emerging markets in Asia and the Middle East than any other airport. As we have seen, the burgeoning middle-class in China has driven demand for products by West Midlands manufacturers, such as Jaguar Land Rover, and this will rapidly increase demand for air connectivity. We need to ensure that this growth story is not stifled by a lack of access to emerging markets.”
This was a point made by the head of the West Midlands UK Trade & Investment organisation, Paul Noon. Speaking at the announcement of the new Flybe flights he said the expansion of the airport was good news for businesses looking to tap into new opportunities in Europe.
Blackett said the interim report also omitted a detailed examination of the transformational effects of HS2 on Birmingham Airport and the regional economy.
“Birmingham Airport’s close proximity to the HS2 Interchange Station means it would benefit substantially from the HS2 connectivity packages and transport improvements that have been proposed by Birmingham City Council and Centro, thus expanding its catchment even further,” he said.
“The Airports Commission report could have gone much further in exploring the role of both HS2 and other economic assets across the West Midlands, such as UK Central. We feel that the Airports Commission interim report largely represents conventional thinking. As such, we would encourage you to visit Birmingham businesses to highlight the challenges and opportunities to develop a regional airport strategy.”
Airports Commission publishes interim report with 2 options for a runway at Heathrow and 1 at Gatwick. Estuary still being considered
December 17, 2013
The Airports Commission’s interim report has put forward 3 options for a new runway, and have kept their options open on an estuary airport. There would only be one runway, not two and they consider this should be in operation before 2030. At Heathrow the choices are a north west runway, 3,500 metres long, destroying Harmondsworth; and an extension westwards of at least 3,000 metres, of the existing northern runway. They also consider a wide spaced Gatwick runway to the south. The Commission also says “there is likely to be a demand case for a 2nd additional runway to be operational by 2050.” They claim this is “consistent with the Committee of Climate Change’s advice to government on meeting its legislated climate change targets.” Stansted is ruled out, and on the Thames Estuary they say: “The Commission has not shortlisted any of the Thames Estuary options because there are too many uncertainties and challenges surrounding them at this stage. It will undertake further study of the Isle of Grain option in the first half of 2014 and will reach a view later next year on whether that option offers a credible proposal for consideration alongside the other short-listed options.” The report also contains recommendations to the government for immediate action to improve the use of existing runway capacity. Among others, these include better airspace organisation and surface transport improvements such as enhancement of Gatwick station, a rail link from the south to Heathrow, and a rail link between Heathrow and Stansted. Click here to view full story…
Airports Commission: interim report (228 pages)
Various associated papers are also at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/airports-commission-interim-report
Airports Commission: interim report – appendix 3 technical appendix PDF, 1.41MB, 116 pages contains a section on carbon emissions from pages 64 to 72.
Birmingham Airport publishes proposals for its future growth – including 2nd runway – to the Airports Commission
July 26, 2013 Birmingham Airport has made a submission to the Airports Commission on its future growth plans. It hopes to grow from 9m passengers a year now to 70m, (the size of Heathrow currently) while allegedly reducing the number of people affected by night noise. They are aware that the Commission is looking at the number affected by noise in the proposals submitted. Birmingham airport says its current runway extension will allow it to handle 27m passengers a year and it has the potential for a 2nd runway to be built some time after 2030 – if the demand required it – costing under £7 billion. The airport estimates that by using the new runway for night flights, it would remove over 13,000 people from the 57dB night noise contour. Birmingham airport say they have support from a large number of businesses in the area, and are well placed for business travellers who are keen to avoid Heathrow and get direct flights to Birmingham. “We have recommended to the commission a network of great long-haul airports to serve Britain’s great cities. Our proposals show that Birmingham Airport is in a position to sit at the heart of this network, serving a valuable catchment area and relieving pressure on congested airports in the South East.” Click here to view full story…