A bold vision to expand Birmingham Airport could see it become a real rival to London Heathrow with 70 million passengers travelling through it each year.
The ambitious long-term dream to create a global hub was unveiled by the airport on Monday and is being backed by a coalition of business leaders, local councils and MPs.
The airport’s masterplan has been produced in response to questions from the Airports Commission, which is examining the need for additional UK airport capacity and will recommend to Government how this can be met in the short, medium and long-term.
As part of the vision a much-expanded Birmingham Airport would sit alongside a new business park for the manufacturing sector and a huge new conference centre at the NEC, creating up to 500,000 air transport movements annually and an estimated 250,000 new jobs in the region.
Birmingham Airport’s CEO Paul Kehoe said Birmingham would expand to some degree whatever decision the Government made. He said: “We are sitting on a burgeoning economic place that looks like it has turned the corner.
“We have the M42 gateway, HS2 and the Greater Birmingham project. Why wouldn’t you put into that mix an airport that is capable of connecting to the world?”
Mark Garnier, Conservative MP for Wyre Forest and chair of the West Midlands All Party Parliamentary Group said: “A global hub at Birmingham will bring long-haul air-travel to within one hour of the airport for 45 million people by 2032 when the HS2 network is fully operational. This will make it the most accessible airport in Britain.”