Birmingham could get a 35-minute high speed rail link to Heathrow under plans being considered by the government.
Transport minister Lord Adonis wants to build the country’s largest passenger interchange at Heathrow as part of a 200mph express line linking St Pancras to Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow.
And he expects businesses to help meet the estimated £20billion cost of the London to Manchester extension.
Lord Adonis said the “bullet train” line could mirror London’s Crossrail project, which attracted £700million from private companies.
His support for the biggest railway project for more than 100 years was welcomed by Birmingham City Council chief executive Stephen Hughes, who rejected fears faster journey times to London might lure customers away from Birmingham International Airport.
It takes two hours to travel by train from Birmingham to Heathrow.
Passengers can go to Euston or Marylebone and take the London Underground to Heathrow, or change at Reading and use a coach. If Lord Adonis gets his way, it would be possible to travel between Birmingham and Heathrow in little over half an hour.
Mr Hughes insisted both airports could benefit: “This would enable passengers from Birmingham to get to Heathrow much more quickly. But obviously people will say what does this mean for BIA?”
Mr Hughes believes BIA and Heathrow must work together.
He added: “This is positive news. If you think about how Heathrow and Gatwick work, an awful lot of people travel by bus between the two. We must not look parochially at this, there will be benefits for Birmingham Airport.”
The rail interchange could work to the advantage of BIA if the government decides against a third runway at Heathrow.
Mr Hughes said the 35-minute journey time between Heathrow and Birmingham would effectively make BIA “Heathrow’s third runway”.
Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Jerry Blackett insisted BIA had “nothing to fear” from Heathrow.