‘Wrong time for expansion’ at Leeds-Bradford

24.7.2009   (Telegraph and Argus)

by Chris Holland

The boss of the largest airline operating from Leeds-Bradford International Airport
has criticised the £28 million expansion plans given the go-ahead this week by
Leeds councillors.

Philip Meeson, chief executive of Jet2.com, accused LBIA’s owners Bridgepoint
of planning the terminal extension mainly to boost shopping facilities in order
to recoup the £140 million it paid for the airport.

Mr Meeson does not believe the extension should go ahead now as it could push
up costs for his company and other tenants.

He said: "Bridgepoint bought the airport at the top of the market. They spent
£140 million to buy it and so will be looking for ways to get that money back.

"The reason LBIA wants to extend the terminal is to create better shopping facilities
as a cash generator.

"All airports are seeing a reduction in passenger numbers and I would question
whether we need this extension now.

"The ring road is already crowded and there are not enough bus services to and
from the airport. We need to have many more buses from all over the place and
car parking charges should be kept down."

Mr Meeson also criticised airport chiefs for a lack of communication over the

Mr Meeson said he "did not recall" being consulted over the plans and that LBIA
had been "pressurising" tenants about potential higher charges which, if imposed,
could affect Jet2.com’s cut price fares.

Airport chiefs say the two-storey extension of the terminal building will boost
passenger numbers and create 2,000 jobs.

The plan is to create a new check-in area and security facilities as well as
a new departure lounge and shops on the first floor.

Tony Hallwood, LBIA’s commercial and aviation director, said he was surprised
by Mr Meeson’s comments and said that airlines were among those who had been canvassed.

He said: "The expansion is designed to ensure LBIA can compete and become the
best regional airport in the UK and boost the local economy."

The green light for LBIA’s expansion was welcomed by Harold Robinson, who took
over as president of Bradford’s chamber of commerce this week.

He said: "We couldn’t believe it when Leeds planners deferred their decision
and very much welcome the fact that they have now approved the plans. A major
conurbation such as Leeds and Bradford needs a proper airport."

Mr Robinson said the airport should focus on restoring services to London Heathrow.





Interesting comments,  just after the vote to approve the expansion of the airport
had been passed by the narrowest of margins.

And the comment “wrong time for expansion” wasn’t from the opposition groups,
but was the dominant low-cost operator jet2.   Ha ha.

We shouldn’t be too downhearted because Bridgepoint had bought at the top of
the market for £150m on the basis of achieving 7mppa by 2015, that they will be
lucky to get half that, and now have to spend another £25m on a new terminal in
a falling market.   So therefore their business plan is in tatters, LBA will be
down to 2.5mppa this year and next, and carbon emissions are reducing – for the

We will have plenty more to campaign about over the next few weeks pointing out
to the councillors about their officers – who fixed the application assessment
– that they got this one completely round their necks


Joedavid, Bradford says…

6:45pm Fri 24 Jul 09

Yes the LBA is ouit to make every pound it can.

Went last week to pick a passenger up from a flight it cost me £3.50 in carpark
charge to do so!

Apparently they think you can do this in less than 10mins.

I think LBA should be re-named Robin Hood, unfortunaly I think that name is in

David Crocket, Bradford says…

7:05pm Fri 24 Jul 09

I am amazed I thought the place had shut down, I am certainly at a loss as to
why they call it a international airport.

Mik_e, Bradford says…

8:04pm Fri 24 Jul 09

As I regularly use LBIA, I have got to say it is the worst airport both in the
UK & abroad for customer service. Internally the building is filthy (check
windows on arrivals corridor), the staff at security screening are mostly the
rudest that I have encountered, hardly ever smile or say please & thank you
and treat passengers more as criminals than customers. The car park charges are
an absolute scandal. restaurant food quality is very poor and extremely expensive.
The airport is tied into to some kind of contract with one taxi firm, who can
hold fares to ransom. If I had an alternative i would certainly use it.

David Crocket, Bradford says…

8:40pm Fri 24 Jul 09

dazbot wrote:

David Crocket wrote: I am amazed I thought the place had shut down, I am certainly
at a loss as to why they call it a international airport.

Errr because they fly to international destinations?

Yeh, well maybe you don’t fly much, but most of what was advertised in the past
by LBA, you had to go to Manchester to catch the flight, maybe its changed?.

airdread, shipley says…

9:30pm Fri 24 Jul 09

well lets see how this monumental shopping mall goes, hope the toilets will be
cleaner than they are now which I can never understand how health and safety never
put a closure notice on the air port, its absolutely filthy mind you having said
that wasnt much better when it was by the council…international my……


bcfc idle supporters, idle says…

11:14pm Fri 24 Jul 09

dazbot wrote:

lba is a load of rubbish, even the kids dont like the airport, theirs never no
planes for them to watch take off n land we seen 1 jet2.com in 3 hours the other

[fazerdazer, saltaire says…

5:40am Sat 25 Jul 09

one of the major problems with lba is access. One minor road feeds a 2 lane entry
to the car parks. What it needs is a rail link from both leeds and bradford. This
should have been part of the plan paid for by the airport company. Its ok having
new smart terminals but if you can’t get their with the increased numbers of passengers
expected, without gridlock, why go to LBA? Also, LBA car parks are the most expensive
of the northern airports for short stay visits. Come on, be reasonable, it cost
me £2.50 for 12 minutes the other night.