Paul Kehoe, Chief Executive of Birmingham Airport gave oral evidence to MPs at the Transport Select Committee’s inquiry into aviation on Monday 10th December 2012.
Appearing alongside other airports outside of the South East, Kehoe argued that international connectivity is vital for regions across the UK if we are to grow the national economy.
He argued that, whatever the long-term solution, a number of barriers currently exist that are preventing airports from maximising the capacity that they have in the short-term. These include:-
• The reluctance of airlines to operate long-haul direct services from UK airports, other than Heathrow.
• Complex inter-governmental agreements which specify which foreign airlines can fly where.
• Air Passenger Duty.
• Undercharging at Heathrow because of price caps.
• The need to improve surface access to airports.
After giving evidence, Paul Kehoe, Chief Executive of Birmingham Airport, said:
“The only thing that this country should be worrying about is how we are going to grow our economy – and we won’t do that by relying on one corner of the country to act as a crutch to prop up the economies outside of the South East.
“To boost growth, local businesses across the UK need international connectivity so that they can trade, and this will only be achieved it we make the most of the existing capacity we have at our airports.
“There are a number of barriers that stand in the way of making the most of our existing airport infrastructure, but where there is a will there is a way.
“I hope that the industry can continue to work together with Government to help remove these barriers, and start to build a progressive aviation sector that is at the heart of the UK’s economic recovery.”
Birmingham Airport’s submission to the Government's Draft Aviation Framework outlines some suggested policy-levers that the Government could adopt to help make best use of existing capacity. The report can be downloaded here.
1. Birmingham Airport's written submission to the Transport Select Committee's inquiry into aviation can be read online here.
2. Today's Transport Select Committee inquiry sessions, including Paul Kehoe's, can be watched online here.
3. Birmingham Airport's report, Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket: a challenge to aviation orthodoxy, argues that in order for the whole of Britain to capture the economic benefits of changes in global travel, the Government must fully utilise existing airport infrastructure and pursue a balanced aviation strategy.
4. To find out more about Birmingham Airport's campaign, please visit: www.balancedaviationdebate.com or follow @balanceaviation.