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Birmingham Airport chief urges MPs to back 'great airports for great cities'

Paul Kehoe addresses cross party committee after Queen's Speech to call for investment in regional airports

Paul Kehoe, chief executive of Birmingham Airport
Paul Kehoe, chief executive of Birmingham Airport

The chief executive of Birmingham Airport has urged the Government to get behind 'great airports for great cities'.

Addressing a cross party reception of MPs, lords and business leaders in London following the Queen's Speech today, Paul Kehoe said more needed to be done to maximise the use of what capacity the country has now in its city regions.

The comments came as the South East's airports become increasingly congested and the Airports Commission looks at long-term runway options.

Birmingham Airport can now cater for long-haul flights to destinations such as China and the west coast of the US and will be even closer to the capital when HS2 opens.

Next month, it will be the first airport outside of London to host a flight to and from China.

Mr Kehoe told MPs: "The West Midlands is the only region in the UK with a positive balance of trade with China, with our advanced manufacturing base leading the way.

"Businesses in the region and beyond tell us they want to fly to growing markets around the world from their local regional airport, not have to travel through the congested South East.

"With air traffic set to double over the next 50 years, the Airports Commission is rightly looking at expanding UK airport capacity but we also need to see government action to make better use of the airports and runways we have already.

"This means changes to tax rules to encourage airlines to use regional airports for long haul routes and a concerted government-led marketing push around the world to let growing markets and foreign airlines know Britain's city regions and our airports are open for business."

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