David Cameron has welcomed the announcement that 8,000 jobs will be created in the Midlands as Birmingham Airport expands to cope with increased demand from around the globe.
On a visit to the airport, which is just weeks away from having its runway extended, the Prime Minister heard that 4,000 jobs would be created at the Airport and a further 4,000 across the supply chain by 2020.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “The announcement of 8,000 jobs from Birmingham Airport is more great news in a week where we are cutting tax for 26million hard-working people and taking over 3 million people out of income tax altogether. These are two significant announcements which will help give people financial security for the future.”
The Prime Minister welcomed the news after witnessing the final lights being fitted on the runway extension by engineering apprentices, who have gained full-time employment as a direct result of the infrastructure project.
As a sign of confidence in the expanded airport, last month saw an announcement that flights between Beijing and Birmingham, operated by China Southern Airlines, will begin this summer.
They will be the first direct charter flights from China to Britain and the first ever direct flights from China to a British airport outside of London.
Paul Kehoe, Birmingham Airport’s CEO, added: “Receiving this endorsement from the Prime Minister as our runway extension nears completion is fantastic for everyone involved in the project. Birmingham is recognised as an airport that is delivering real growth and supporting thousands of new jobs.
“The main driver for this growth is the runway extension. By 2020, based on today’s demand, Birmingham Airport is forecast to handle 15 million passengers a year, an increase of six million. This passenger growth will generate an additional 4,000 jobs on-site and a further 4,000 in the immediate supply chain.”
During the visit, Mr Cameron also met with local business leaders from across the region, who welcome greater connectivity from their local airport.
The longer runway will allow aircraft to fly to destinations further away and support more direct long-haul flights to emerging economies currently out of reach, such as Brazil and China, as well as tourist hotspots like the West Coast of the USA.
The runway expansion is just one part of a long-term investment programme, worth over £300 million at the airport. The earlier stages have already delivered a new combined terminal, a new maintenance hangar for larger aircraft and a state-of-the-art air traffic control tower.
The airport development has been funded through private sector investment, and will support the airport’s long term ambition of quadrupling the annual number of passengers to 36 million.