Birmingham  airport aspiration to be a major air transport hub


£100m investment heralds Birmingham Airport key

BIRMINGHAM Airport is set to become one of the most important transport hubs
in the country, spearheading the economic revival of the West Midlands.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond made the claim when he officially opened the
latest phase of the £100m redevelopment of the airport.

The multi-million project has been taking place over a number of years culminating
in the One Terminal strategy which has seen the airport’s two former terminals
combined into one entity.

Mr Hammond said the new facility could not be more different than the old terminal
and was set to underline Birmingham’s growing importance to the UK transport network
over the next 15 years.

“The airport is now not only a gateway to the West Midlands for the business
community but is performing an increasingly important function as a crucial part
of the UK national airport infrastructure,” he said at the ceremony to officially
mark the opening of the new terminal.

The Minister said another key aspect of the transport strategy would be the development
of HS2 rail link which will pass within a kilometre of the airport and will whisk
passengers direct from London to the airport in around 35 minutes – roughly the
time it takes commuters to travel from the centre of London to Gatwick.

“There is pressure on capacity in the South East. It is obvious we have to make
this better and regional airports will play an important role in this, especially
when they have the facilities here,” said Mr Hammond.

He said HS2 would change the economic geography of Britain and it would transform
the fortunes of Birmingham, the airport and the NEC.

Mr Hammond said the extension of the airport’s runway would also be significant
and would pave the way for direct long haul flights to the United States and China.

Paul Kehoe, airport chief executive, said the £35m project to link the two terminals
had been worthwhile and had delivered facilities unrivalled by any other UK regional

However, he said the £100m invested in the airport so far was only the start
of a process that would transform Birmingham into a global gateway.

Work has started on a new £40m new control tower and tenders will shortly be
sent out for the £65m runway extension. The extension, aided by a recent settlement
through the Regional Growth Fund, is scheduled for completion in 2014.

The first phase of investment has included the £50m International Pier, which
will allow the airport to serve long-haul airliners up to the size of the giant
Airbus A380. The £35m scheme to link the terminals has seen an improved security
area and passport control plus the creation of new retail and catering facilities
such as the 50,000sq ft of retail space for WorldDutyFree.

The airport has also rebranded itself, dropping the ‘International’ part of its
name and introducing a new logo.


Birmingham airport in for long haul

By Mark Odell
13.5.2011 (FT)
… excerpts …

Birmingham airport is being promoted as the solution to capacity constraints
in London and the south-east as the government seeks to rebuff criticism that
it lacks a coherent aviation policy.

Philip Hammond, transport secretary, said Birmingham had a growing role to play
in the country’s airport infrastructure. “Because of the pressure on airports
in the south-east, it makes sense to use our regional airports
“We are all for regional development but there is an overwhelming need for additional
airport capacity in the south-east right now,” said Mike Carravick, chief executive
of BAR UK, the industry grouping representing all scheduled carriers.
Mr Hammond said once the proposed high-speed line to Birmingham opened in 2026,
the time would shrink to 35 minutes, making the journey quicker than from central
London to Gatwick and Stansted.
Mr Hammond, who was speaking at the opening of Birmingham’s refurbished international
terminal, believes a high-speed rail network is key to relieving bottlenecks at
airports as it removes the need for domestic flights.
Other European countries, including France and Germany, have integrated some
of their biggest airports into high-speed rail networks, allowing airlines to
offer combined ticketing with rail operators.

Birmingham airport has capacity for 18m passengers a year and is investing £65m
to extend its one runway, which will allow aircraft to carry enough fuel to reach
the US west coast and Asia. Work is due to be completed by 2014.