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MIPIM 2017: How HS2 is helping Birmingham Airport expansion

Paul Kehoe , chief executive of Birmingham Airport, explains why he and his team are supporting Greater Birmingham’s presence with Midlands UK at MIPIM

Having experienced enormous passenger growth over the last few years, we are now one of the UK’s fastest growing UK airports.

Last year we saw a 14.2 per cent rise in our passenger numbers and have celebrated two years of consecutive monthly record growth.

Long-haul traffic has seen the most significant increase in traffic, with a 21.3 per cent year-on-year rise due to the introduction of new global routes which have provided vital trade links to help power the Midlands Engine.

And despite this boom, we managed to get more flights in and out on time than any other airport, becoming the world’s most punctual airport in 2016.

Our strategy has been clear – deliver more connectivity by investing in facilities and attracting new airlines.

But we don’t sell the airport itself – we sell the region, the economy, the business opportunities and the tourism offer that put Birmingham and the surrounding areas on the map, allowing airlines to sell their seats.

Paul Kehoe, Birmingham Airport chief executive(Image: Handout)

High Speed Rail has been at the core of our sales pitch to airlines.

It will bring Birmingham Airport ‘closer’ to London than Luton and Stansted.

MIPIM 2017: Bigger Midlands is ready to bring in bigger bucks...

Journey times to and from London will be the same as Gatwick and only 15 minutes longer than Heathrow T5 – and with London’s capacity problem not set to be resolved for at least another ten to 15 years, airlines are looking to elsewhere to place their aircraft.

The Midlands’ strong economy and our close proximity to London – now and even more so in the future – mean Birmingham is their next best option.

MIPIM 2017: Why Greater Birmingham is THE place to lead UK growth

We will become the UK’s first and only high-speed connected airport in 2026 so we’re currently working on our master plan to scope out how the current site can be maximised and the benefits of HS2 realised, whilst preserving options for the future.

It must consider how a truly integrated transport hub can be created for people travelling to, from and across the Midlands.

The airport will consult on its master plan later this year.

All about Birmingham Airport

Birmingham Airport is the Midlands’ largest airport and handles 12 million passengers annually.

It serves 150 direct global destinations plus a further 340 one-stop long-haul routes, with 50 airlines.

By the end of this year, a £450 million programme of infrastructure developments will culminate with the completion of a new hold-baggage screening system, a doubling of self-service check-in and bag drop desks, additional car parking with free drop-off and air traffic control upgrades.

With the runway extension and terminal enhancements, these investments – together with the growth of the region’s economy and trends towards long-haul travel – the airport is now experiencing unprecedented growth.

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