The article below comes from the Birmingham Evening Post on Monday this week:
Perhaps supporters of Coventry Airport might like to comment after development there has been turned down on the grounds that the UK Midlands already have an adequate airport in Birmingham.......Not that Delta were looking at Coventry.......On the other hand 757s have operated from Coventry!
Businesses call for airport extension Jun 25 2007Birmingham's competitive edge is being damaged by the lack of long haulflights from the city's airport, business leaders have claimed.The warning from the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce is backed by a surveycarried out by the organisation which shows that two thirds of businesseswould use direct flights to destinations such as the Far East and USA.Birmingham International Airport has plans for a 400-metre extension to thesouthern end of the existing runway.This would increase the potential range of Birmingham's aircraft and wouldhelp the airport compete with Manchester and hubs in London.Currently business travellers lose valuable time in productivity bytravelling to other UK airports to catch a plane or having to change flightson the continent.BCC's chief executive Jerry Blackett said: "Our unique asset is ourgeography in the middle of the country so we must make the most of it."We cannot talk about Birmingham being a truly global city until we have atruly global airport. It is as simple as that."If we cannot fly to destinations across the globe it proves that we need atruly international airport."We have always said that the 400 metre extension is a priority. It is vitalfor the economic prosperity of the region and would ensure that the secondcity can compete with Manchester and London."Aircraft departing from Birmingham would have to remove some of theirpassengers or lucrative cargoes if they were to carry enough fuel to reachlong haul destinations. This eats into their profits and makes Birminghamunattractive.It is understood that last year Delta Airlines, as part of its massiveexpansion into Europe, looked into establishing a Birmingham to Atlantaroute.However, the US giant pulled out following a study into the potentialopportunities at Birmingham.BIA chiefs have said previously that many airlines approach the hub – butback off once they have done their sums.Recent passenger figures at the airport have shown a decrease of 0.9 percent in May when compared to the same month last last year.BIA blamed the dip on the loss of three BA Connect routes. The formerregional arm of British Airways was taken over by Flybe, who axed some ofthe less profitable routes.A total of 59 per cent of businesses in Birmingham believe the presentsituation with long haul flights has a negative effect on business,according to the Chamber's study.A similar number said they would definitely use long-haul flights if theywere available at the airport, the Chamber said.The study also reveals that 53 per cent of business were affected by timelost travelling to other UK airports or at transfers on the continent.Businesses wanting to travel to the Far East make up 65 per cent of therespondents while 41 per cent want to travel the US.Local businessman Steve Holden, managing director of PR consultancy HaswellHolden Limited, who are based in Stoke Prior, Worcestershire, is calling onBirmingham to secure its runway sooner rather than later.Mr Holden said the facilities at BIA are among the best in the country, buthe has to travel to Manchester and London Gatwick to fly to Florida becausethere are no direct services at Birmingham.He said: "I have to stay in a hotel the night before the flights so that Iam there in time in the morning. This is dead time which I could be usingdoing business. It definitely gives my competitors in London or Manchesterthe edge."We think of ourselves as the second city, so why don't we have these longhaul flights."My company is expanding in the US at the moment so we need more flightsacross the Atlantic from Birmingham."BIA were unavailable for comment.
Many thanks to the BHX News and Discussion group for this article alert.