Leeds airport terminal project will go ahead despite economy

15.7.2008     (Yorkshire Evening Post – YEP)


THE boss of Leeds Bradford Airport says he is confident that a multi-million
pound terminal redevelopment will go ahead as planned.
John Parkin has told the YEP that a formal planning application will be submitted
in early 2009.

A number of major construction projects in and around the city have fallen victim
to the credit crunch in recent months and last week the developer of Leeds’ giant
Lumiere towers was forced to put the scheme on hold.

Mr Parkin, who took up the post of managing director at Leeds Bradford International
Airport last September, has conceded that the current economic climate has resulted
in a “leaner time” for both airlines and airports.

“It would be ridiculous to say those circumstances won’t affect us, because they
will, but I don’t think it is at such a level that it will in any way cause us
to question our development plans,” he said.

“We have spent a lot of energy and time looking at the feasibility of our terminal
plans and speaking with teams of external consultants on how we can make our terminal
capable of handling significant further capacity.


“The project itself, and associated projects, were put to the board in principle
a short while ago, and were signed off.

“Is there any reason to doubt that this is going ahead at the moment? No.

“The business case is strong. The investment is clearly required but, just like
any other business in the economic cycle we appear to be in at the moment, we
will have to make judgements as we go along.

“We expect to go for planning permission around the early part of next year.”

Mr Parkin said the investment agreed in principle represented “the biggest tranche
of single investment this company has ever had, by a long way” and that made it
a seminal moment in the history of the airport.

“We are not looking to just slightly refine things. We want to transform this
place into what the region, our shareholders – all our stakeholders – want.”

Mr Parkin was appointed managing director after the airport was bought by European
private equity firm Bridgepoint Capital in a £145m deal just over a year ago.

Bridgepoint has pledged to invest £70m on a major modernisation of the airport
and the plan is to grow passenger numbers from their current 3m to more than 5m
by 2012/2013.

Read Nigel Scott’s in-depth interview with John Parkin in this month’s eight-page
Business supplement. Free inside the YEP on Wednesday.