- Posted by: Valerie Vaz MP
- Category: News
I visited Birmingham Airport on Friday 19 February 2016 and met with the chief executive Paul Kehoe, to discuss issues and hear about Birmingham Airport.
Birmingham Airport has 10.5 million passengers and more than 100,000 aircraft movements. The airport has 8000 people on site. Most people who work there live within half an hour of the airport. Of those 8000 employees, 700 are airport staff, and 250 are security, firefighters and air traffic control. There are approximately 140 companies that are based at the airport. Other jobs include marketing, financing, handling agents.
Whilst Luton and Edinburgh Airports are bigger, they have fewer airlines. Currently there are 50 airlines operating out of Birmingham Airport and it’s worth £1.7 billion and generated 25,000 jobs for the UK economy. I mentioned that I was in favour of an expansion of the Airport rather than a third runway at Heathrow, because I think that the Airport Commission hasn’t looked at the benefits to the Midlands and national economy of the expansion to Birmingham Airport. With the connectivity of HS2, there is a vital link between air, rail and road which can be established around the West Midlands.
The issue of airport passenger duty (APD) came up and the key impact for Birmingham Airport is that having differentiated APD and devolution does not answer the question but creates a market. There needs to be a timetable for all the regional airports, to act at the same time. So, for example, where demands is strong and where there is spare capacity, the tax can be removed. There is only an increase in APD when there are congested airports, as in the case of Heathrow.
I noticed coming out of the railway station that the signs now say Birmingham Airport, to prevent confusion with describing it as Birmingham International Airport. This clarifies the difference between the railway station and the Airport.
In my view, more should be made of regional airports, and in particular for my constituents the case for an expansion at Birmingham Airport is strong.