Manchester Airport says it is the main airport for the north – Heathrow expansion is not needed for the regions
Charlie Cornish, the CEO of Manchester airport and MAG, says “it is just plain wrong to say that only Heathrow can connect the UK to global growth.” His comments were in response to a report by a body called the National Connectivity Task Force NCTF), that is pushing for a 3rd Heathrow runway, in the belief it would be the best option for regional airports like Newcastle and Durham Tees Valley, if they get more Heathrow slots for their flights. The NCTF are submitting their report to the Airports Commission, hoping to influence them. Mr Cornish said Manchester Airport, the only UK airport other than Heathrow to have 2 runways, was thriving as an international hub in its own right. He said: “It is just plain wrong to say that only Heathrow can connect the UK to global growth, or that businesses in the UK’s regions need to fly through Heathrow to reach these markets….“Manchester Airport is truly the international gateway for the North, demonstrated by the fact that it serves over 4 million long haul passengers a year, up by 20% over the last 5 years….The north does not need another runway at Heathrow to connect to global markets….The biggest economic benefit will come from new services direct from the regions, with passengers not having to fly through a London airport to reach their final destination.”
Manchester Airport hits out at report claiming Heathrow expansion is good for the regions
17 March 2015 (Manchester Evening News)
By Charlotte Cox
Charlie Cornish says “it is just plain wrong to say that only Heathrow can connect the UK to global growth”
The boss of Manchester Airport has slammed a new report which recommends a new runway at Heathrow as the best option for the country’s future aviation needs.
The report, penned by a panel of experts dubbed the National Connectivity Task Force (NCTF), says there should be a central international hub in London – with more flights connecting regional airports. [Link to NCTF press release on report ]
It will be submitted to the Davies Commission – tasked with advising on how to fulfil the country’s future aviation needs.
Options on the table are a £7.8bn second runway at Gatwick, a £17bn third runway at Heathrow, or an extension to one of the existing Heathrow runways.
It says the status quo and too many government restrictions on air travel, means the country is over-reliant on overseas airports for global links.
But Charlie Cornish, chief executive of airport operator MAG, said Manchester Airport was thriving as an international hub in its own right.
He said: “It is just plain wrong to say that only Heathrow can connect the UK to global growth, or that businesses in the UK’s regions need to fly through Heathrow to reach these markets.
“Manchester Airport is truly the international gateway for the North, demonstrated by the fact that it serves over four million long haul passengers a year, up by 20 per cent over the last five years.
“The north does not need another runway at Heathrow to connect to global markets.
“Manchester has two runways and the existing capacity to support the needs of the 22 million people that live within two hours of the airport, a number which will increase significantly as planned investments in road and rail connectivity are delivered.
“The biggest economic benefit will come from new services direct from the regions, with passengers not having to fly through a London airport to reach their final destination.”
The report’s authors praise Heathrow as a ‘fundamentally important national infrastructure asset.”
They add: “Although Manchester aspires to take on such a role, and Edinburgh and Birmingham Airports are endeavouring to develop substantial directly served networks of their own – including to some long haul destinations, none of them come close to Heathrow or Gatwick; nor according to the Commission’s own forecasts are they likely to do so.
“It is for this reason that the UK’s regions, nations and Crown Dependencies must have guaranteed connections to London’s hub and/or major gateway airport once a new runway is open.”
Mr Cornish has spoken previously about the London options and the potential cost to the taxpayer.
He has written to the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin arguing for a model in which the country’s transport needs are served by Manchester and Heathrow – which already have two runways – along with Gatwick and MAG-owned Stansted, which wish to build second runways, combined with high-speed rail links.
He said he disagreed with the Heathrow operator’s argument that a third runway is necessary to allow British businesses to open new routes to fast-growing markets in the developing world..
Sir Howard Davies is due to make a final recommendation to the government this summer.
The regional task force report was suggested by Heathrow but the task force stresses it is independent.
Manchester Airport’s international CV:
Manchester serves over 4 million long haul passengers annually
Since 2010, its long haul volumes have grown from 3.4 million to just over 4 million
In 2014, Manchester’s long haul volumes grew by 7.5 per cent.
Combined passenger volumes to the Middle East hubs have grown by 60 per cent since 2010 (from 900,000 to 1.4 million)
Emirates/Etihad/Qatar make up 30 per cent of all long haul traffic, having grown from a 10 per cent share in 2005. They have grown by 1 million passengers over the decade
Emirates is the airport’s number one long haul airline accounting for 17 per cent of long haul traffic and Manchester is one of only a few UK airports able to accommodate an A380.
Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong, which makes Manchester the only airport outside of London to offer a direct route to China
Saudia to Jeddah
Iraqi Airways launching two flights a week to Erbil and Sulaymaniyah
Miami starting this May
Emirates has just started a double daily A380 to Dubai
Turkish Airlines has announced going triple daily
Qatar Airways has gone double daily