Birmingham International Airport sets out to lure flights from Heathrow

20.10.2009   (Birmingham Post)

by Paul Dale

Birmingham International Airport chief executive Paul Kehoe has stepped up his
campaign to lure passengers and flights from Heathrow by pointing out that BIA
could handle twice as many passengers a year immediately without engaging in any
costly reconstruction work.

Paul Kehoe at Birmingham Airport

Mr Kehoe hit out at a proposal to build a new London airport in the Thames Estuary
– a scheme backed by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson – claiming that it would
be far more efficient and less costly to reduce pressure on Heathrow by making
more use of BIA.

Mr Kehoe said the airport could easily cope with nine million more passengers
a year – twice the number flying from BIA – without building new terminals or
improving the existing infrastructure.   A high-speed rail link between Birmingham
Airport and Heathrow would put BIA in an even stronger position.

With Labour and the Conservatives promising to move ahead with high- speed rail,
it should eventually be possible to travel between BIA and Heathrow in less than
38 minutes, against up to an hour’s travelling time between Heathrow and the proposed
Thames Estuary airport.

In its Master Plan, BIA envisages catering for an additional 18 million passengers
a year by 2030 partly through an extension to its main runway which will allow non-stop flights to China, India and the west coast of America
for the first time.   Growth on such a scale would bring huge benefits to the local
economy and hundreds of new jobs.

Mr Kehoe said: "Birmingham is ready to respond to any current or future government
initiatives. We already attract passengers from the home counties who choose the
convenience, choice and accessibility of BIA over other alternatives. We have
plenty of capacity.  

BIA is the UK’s second-largest airport outside of London, after Manchester.

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