WESTMINSTER DIARY: Dame Caroline Spelman - The Solihull Observer

WESTMINSTER DIARY: Dame Caroline Spelman

Solihull Editorial 5th Nov, 2018   0

Birmingham Airport is a key asset in our local and regional economy. It provides jobs for nearly seven thousand people on the site itself and supports 30,900 jobs across the region. This month the Airport will publish its revised Master Plan setting out a plan for new investment to improve, modernise and expand, in order to better connect our region.

Local people will be given the opportunity to view and have their say on these proposals.  One option was to include a proposal for a second runway which would have had a very significant impact on the communities, such as Berkswell and Balsall Common, under the new flight path but also would have cut across Solihull Council’s plans to create a garden city around the parkway station to be built for HS2.

So I’m pleased to see the airport has listened to the views of local representatives including West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, saying that the existing runway has plenty of spare capacity and that it can accommodate the demand for more flights over the next 15 years and beyond. We now need to support the airport in its endeavour to make the best use of its single runway. It is imperative that the link to the station is speedy and easy. If the journey time to the Interchange Station by HS2 is 38 minutes from Euston it makes no sense for a slow transfer to the airport.

An automated people mover is proposed but the customer experience needs to be seamless without worrying about the length of time it takes to get to the terminal. That is why I’ve also been pleased to see the Airport’s commitment to improving its facilities and customer service.  A planning application was approved late in September by Solihull Council to expand and refurbish the terminal, providing new retail, food and beverage, toilet and baggage areas.

With the Commonwealth Games just around the corner in 2022, the airport will be the first experience of the UK for many visitors.  Given that this coincides with the start of the school holidays, I’m pleased steps are being taken to improve the airport’s public space. It will be a good opportunity for many local businesses to have the eyes of the Commonwealth on our region.

We are proud to be hosting such a huge sporting event and we want visitors to say their experience of Birmingham Airport was great.

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