Birmingham advertising campaign and website pushing the idea they are the “solution”

Paul Kehoe, the boss of Birmingham Airport, is launching an aggressive advertising campaign across London as he hopes to claim for Birmingham a slice of London’s “overheating” aviation market. He continues to press for regional airports, like Birmingham (and Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bristol and Newcastle) to take on a larger share of UK passengers, from the London airports. There is a new website to push this.  Kehoe says his airport and other regionals can help solve the so-called “capacity crunch” in the South East, at little extra cost. Paul Kehoe is lobbying the Government hard, to get expansion at Birmingham. He says it is only 70 minutes by train from central London to Birmingham, and this could come down to  under an hour with rail upgrades.   Kehoe wants the UK to have several hub airports, Birmingham being one, Manchester another, being complimentary.


Birmingham Airport ‘answer’ to Heathrow capacity crisis

Birmingham Airport is setting out to quash the Government’s “infatuation” with Heathrow and the South East and stake its claim as an alternative gateway that can help alleviate London’s aviation crisis.

Birmingham Airport 'answer' to Heathrow capacity crisis

Paul Kehoe, the boss of Birmingham Airport, to tell politicians the air travellers soon will be able to be in London within an hour.

By    (Telegraph)

10 Jun 2012

Paul Kehoe, the boss of Birmingham Airport, will press the button on an aggressive advertising campaign across the capital tomorrow as he hopes to claim a slice of London’s “overheating” aviation market.

He says Westminster should look beyond its own back yard and recognise that regional airports such as Birmingham can help solve the so-called “capacity crunch” in the South East, at little extra cost.

Mr Kehoe will tell politicians before publication of the Government’s long-awaited White Paper on aviation that Birmingham airport is only 70 minutes by train from central London and journey times will be reduced to less than an hour within the next two years following rail upgrades.

If the Government presses ahead with its High Speed Rail 2 project, journey times are projected to fall to as ­little as 38 minutes.

“For too long policy-makers have been infatuated with seeing airport expansion in the South East as the only solution to the problems facing Britain’s aviation industry,” Mr Kehoe said.

“Heathrow has been throwing its weight about trying to get a third runway back on the political agenda but the truth is that this reliance on a centralised airport ­system in the South East has made the industry too regional, uncompetitive and inflexible.”

Mr Kehoe pointed out that Germany had several hub airports, including Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Berlin, which are used as gateways between the country and the emerging markets.

He would like to see a similar system in the UK, also potentially involving airports such as Manchester.

“I’m not talking about taking over from Heathrow, I’m talking about being complementary,” he said.

Birmingham Airport, which is still majority owned by seven West Midlands district councils, currently transports just under 9m passengers a year but has capa­city to accommodate 18m passengers.

It is undergoing a runway extension, which, when it is finished in 2014, will allow the airport to attract more long-­distance carriers.

Currently, it serves destinations such as Delhi, Dubai and Florida but the full-length runway will allow it to accommodate planes that can fly to all of the key emerging markets, such as China, Brazil and South Africa.

Mr Kehoe said the word “hub”, which was used to argue Heathrow’s case for a third runway, was a “much-abused term”.

He said it was wrong to portray Heathrow as the only solution to the UK’s international travel needs. “Heathrow is overheating and its poor passenger experiences are damaging the UK’s international reputation,” he said.

Despite its spare capacity, traffic at Birmingham dropped from 9.5m in 2008 to 8.6m at the end of 2011 as leisure travellers fell away.    ( Passengers 2001 – 2011 – CAA data )


Birmingham Airport now have a website promoting its expansion,

which says:





…..  Dusseldorf, Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt    vs.  Heathrow


The Birmingham Airport new website says:


Birmingham Airport, a national airport 

he government is currently working out the UK’s aviation strategy. The debate is too focused on the South East – whether Heathrow should have a third runway or whether there should be a new airport in the Thames Estuary. Either of these solutions are years away.

At Birmingham Airport, we think the answer is really quite straightforward. We should fully utilise the existing capacity that major UK airports, like Birmingham Airport, have now. We should have a series of strategic national airports spread across the UK – and not just in the South East – because it is better for customers and better for business.


On Capacity



Birmingham Airport and other national airports have the spare capacity to provide a rapid and cost-effective solution to the aviation gap. Birmingham Airport has nine million passengers a year. Passenger numbers could double today without any new infrastructure.

The runway extension is under construction and is due for completion in 2014. Once the runway extension is complete, Birmingham Airport will have spare capacity for over 27 million passengers. That is a larger increase in capacity than a third runway at Heathrow could deliver a decade down the line.

The longer runway will enable Birmingham Airport to offer longer-haul flights to all popular destinations, and progressively increase passenger volumes to 36 million passengers per year. It is possible that the new generation of Aircraft – such as the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 – might be able to reach Australia non-stop from Birmingham.

Birmingham Airport could make a major contribution to meeting air passenger demand immediately. In 2011, 3.3 million passengers from the Midlands travelled to airports in the South East. By “clawing back” passengers to the Midlands, Birmingham Airport could help to release capacity at airports in the South East, so that they can serve the South East.


On Connectivity



Birmingham Airport’s rail and road connections make it Britain’s best connected airport.

Birmingham Airport offers direct train services to 45 stations, making it Britain’s best connected airport by rail. It is currently 70 minutes by train from Central London and journey times are set to fall to below 60 minutes by 2014, and to 38 minutes in 2026 with the development of HS2. The London interchange station in West London will be just 31 minutes away.

Birmingham Airport is the nearest major airport to the capital outside of the marketed London terminals. Ten million people live within an hour’s drive of the airport. It is 160km from London by road and has easy access to motorways in six directions. There is a choice of two motorways between Birmingham Airport and London.

In 2011, 3.3 million passengers from the Midlands used South East airports. A more distributed approach to aviation policy can reverse this trend, easing the burden on South East airports. In the long-run, HS2 will make Birmingham Airport more attractive to a larger catchment area.

To read more about the case for a balanced aviation policy in Britain, see The Guardian,City AM and the Birmingham Post.


On Growth



[The figures above are approximately those in the 2011 forecasts at  link ]

Birmingham Airport is the main international port of entry for the regional economy and is one of the Midlands’ most significant economic assets. A flourishing Birmingham Airport will connect British business to emerging markets, generate growth for the national economy and enable the Government to satisfy key objectives. The Government should define Birmingham Airport as a ‘national airport’, in recognition of the impact that it can have across a range of departmental objectives.

The airport is an essential part of the local economy, as well as being a strategic national asset. Nearly 40% of its total procurement is spent on businesses in and around the airport and it currently generates £600 million for the local economy each year. A growing airport will benefit the wider Midlands region and the UK.

Aviation links are important but they do not have to be at Heathrow. A newly-defined national airport will benefit not just the wider Midlands region but the UK, by providing more choice.

British business relies on having good connections to existing and emerging markets. Trade is twenty times higher with those countries to which Britain has direct flights. Some within the aviation industry mistakenly conflate the future success of the British economy with a third runway at Heathrow.

Making better use of Birmingham Airport by defining it as a ‘national airport’ will generate jobs across the economy, allow Heathrow and South East airports to focus on important local markets, and provide direct connections for manufacturers to new markets. It will also provide customers with more choice.



Some comments from AirportWatch members:

At least if Mr Kehoe gets his way huge amounts of money won’t be spent on either Boris Island or the Third Runway at LHR.

Stern tells us not to spend any money on Infrastructure that we cannot use in the future and that comment applies very strongly to aviation.

Hitherto the aviation industry has enjoyed “the seal of approval of Government” and also the inexorable handout of taxpayer money by not being charged the same levels of tax and duty that virtually all other industries have to bear. It has not even been hit with the same level of GHG savings that all of us have to bear.
However, the Government is literally “strapped for cash” and although numbers are almost always quoted in billions these days, the recent “pasty” and “caravan” taxes were just handfuls of millions. This is an indication of just how much the UK Government finances are on a knife edge and that ANY saving, however small, is being looked at.
It would be amazing (and very wrong) therefore, if any upcoming announcements by the Government will include any handouts for the aviation industry. This is a “new” concept for an industry that up till now just had to throw its toys out of the pram to get immediate financial aid from Government.  It is now no longer available.