Birmingham Airport warns it could suffer as Solihull MPs vote for Heathrow expansion - The Solihull Observer

Birmingham Airport warns it could suffer as Solihull MPs vote for Heathrow expansion

Solihull Editorial 26th Jun, 2018 Updated: 26th Jun, 2018   0

BIRMINGHAM Airport has warned it could suffer as the borough MPs voted for an expansion at Heathrow.

The government won the controversial motion for a third runway at Heathrow Airport with support from Solihull’s MP Julian Knight and Meriden MP Dame Caroline Spelman.

Birmingham Airport criticised the government’s narrow focus and suggested the new runway could increase competitive pressure.

Dame Caroline said the new Heathrow runway was essential but she supported improved connectivity to Birmingham Airport.

She said: “The vote on Heathrow was one of the most significant decisions taken with regards to our national infrastructure in a generation.

“The reality we are faced with is the pressure on airspace in south-east England is such that a third runway at London Heathrow is needed while capacity at our region’s local airports – such as Birmingham, are still well below 50 per cent.

“It is clear that regional airports do have an important role to play in the future of commercial air travel, which is why it is positive that the proposal to run a connection on the Chiltern Line and High Speed Two will mean the West Midlands will become better connected.”

A spokesperson from Birmingham Airport said: “Heathrow expansion is still a long way off, with 2030 the earliest date for completion and it’s unclear what the aviation market will look like at this point, given a fast moving global economy and Brexit uncertainties.

“Furthermore, while the precise impact on Birmingham from a third runway at Heathrow remains to be seen, there will eventually be additional competitive pressure.

“We look forward to seeing the government’s commitment to supporting regional airports with existing capacity come to life in the forthcoming Aviation Strategy.

“We believe that the government should work with us and our local and regional partners to improve transport links and surface access within and around Birmingham and the West Midlands, rather than focusing narrowly on connectivity to Heathrow.

“Birmingham Airport is an economic driver for the West Midlands.

“Government support will help us to do even more towards growing jobs and prosperity in the region.”

The motion was passed despite high-profile environmental concerns and Midlands Labour Party MPs who said expansion to Birmingham Airport was more important.

Jim Cunningham, MP for Coventry South, said: “Last night I voted against the Heathrow expansion as I’m concerned about the impact of another runway on flights and jobs at Birmingham Airport.”

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