Possible re-consideration of expanding Birmingham airport, to rebalance UK airport capacity
Jim O’Neill, the Treasury minister, has urged Number 10 to look at the growth potential at Birmingham airport, which would be less than 40 minutes away from London after HS2 reaches the Midlands in 2026.
…… full FT story at
Birmingham Airport profits soar after ‘busiest ever year’
27.8.2016 (Express & Star)
Soaraway profits have rocketed by 80 per cent at Birmingham Airport as it enjoyed its busiest-ever year, new figures reveal.
Pre-tax profit jumped to £25 million in the 12 months to the end of March, according to accounts newly filed at Companies House.
As passenger figures and air traffic soared to new highs, turnover at the airport grew by £9.5m to £130.5m.
In their strategic report, directors said: “During the year ended March 2016, Birmingham Airport reported its busiest ever year and for the first time in the airport’s history 10 million passengers passed through the terminals.
“It was also the fifth consecutive year of passenger growth, surpassing the previous record set during 2015/16 by 5.5 per cent.”
The airport earns its income from two key revenue streams. Aeronautical income is generated by charges levied on airlines, for aircraft and passengers using its facilities. Commercial income is from activities including duty free shopping, car parking, catering and property rental.
The report reveals that Birmingham’s aeronautical income grew by four per cent in the year but the commercial side enjoyed another strong year with income up 10.5 per cent, boosted by developments in the terminal with a new Giraffe restaurant and revamps to its Wetherspoon pub and Dixons and Next shops.
New duty free brands including Jo Malone, Bobbi Brown, Urban Decay and a World of Whisky along with the new Joe and the Juice coffee shop are expected to help boost income this year.
It was a year that also saw 11 new airlines signing up to fly from Birmingham, including American Airlines, Wizz Air, Vueling, Iberia Express, Qatar, Icelandair, Czech Airlines, VLM and Blue Air.
But hopes 2015’s extended summer charter flights to China would turn into a permanent service crashed earlier this year when tour operator Caissa Touristic pulled out.
2015 saw a string of new flight destinations, however, as passenger numbers grew to 10.4 million. That growth has continued unabated this year, with figures earlier this week revealing 11 million people passed through the West Midlands gateway over the last 12 months.
The most popular destinations last year were Dublin, Dubai and Amsterdam.
The year saw employee costs rising almost 18 per cent as the airport took air traffic control services in-house, ending its contract with national service NATS. The airport now employs 619 people, 33 more than in the previous year.
Operating profit at the group, before exceptional items, increased 28.8 per cent to £39.3m with higher income partially offset by higher operating costs.
The airport is half owned by the eight West Midlands local councils, including Wolverhampton, Walsall, Dudley, Sandwell and Birmingham, and half by Canada’s Ontario Teachers Pension Fund. Employees also have a small stake.
The success of the business saw them benefitting from dividend payouts of £94.6 million, including a special dividend of £74.7m paid in April.
After more than £23 million spending on major projects the previous year, the airport’s capital project budget fell to just £9.7m last year to pay for an upgrade to its baggage system, a new airbridge for the Emirates A380 superjumbo, security search equipment and more energy efficient LED lighting in the car park.
Birmingham airport getting some more long haul passengers, making use of its runway extension
Birmingham airport, in common with the majority of other UK airports, has been seeing high rates of growth over the past two years. The UK feels itself to be out of recession, flights are cheap and the price of oil (and jet fuel) is very low. With that combination of circumstances, airports are emerging from the fall in numbers of both passengers and ATMs that started in 2007 and continued till 2010, with a slow recovery. Birmingham opened its runway extension in May 2014, with hopes of many more long haul flights, as the runway was now long enough for heavy aircraft. Local campaigners say the growth in numbers reflects the aggressive marketing by Birmingham airport since then. The airport says it passed the 10 million passenger mark last year, and has now reached the 11 million mark. (If the airports cannot increase their passenger throughput now, after a deep dip, before we get into another recession and the price of jet fuel rises again, when can they?) Birmingham says over the past year their long-haul traffic increased by 26%, with particular growth to the Middle East (+34.1%), North America (+32.6%). That was, of course, what they paid all that money for the runway extension for. It can take flights that otherwise might have gone via Heathrow. Birmingham is keenly against a 3rd Heathrow runway, as it would be a bitter rival.
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