Dear Editor, People in Birmingham will be disappointed to hear Digby Jones publicly pushing for a third runway at Heathrow instead of calling for Birmingham Airport to step up to help service the needs of London and the South East.

Speaking on BBC TV, Digby Jones said that as Birmingham “is not a hub” , though it could help in meeting the needs of an expanding UK aviation market, the only true answer to the country’s aviation requirements is a third runway at clogged up Heathrow.

However, in reality, a more sensible aviation policy is needed where a number of airports – from Heathrow and Gatwick to Luton, Stansted and the recently expanded Southend Airport can all work together to meet the aviation needs of the UK.

Birmingham Airport is a critical part of this mix. Thanks to the Government’s brave decision to go ahead with HS2, the airport will be less than an hour away from central London and – combined with the decision to extend the runway – Birmingham can provide the much needed capacity to meet the needs of the Midlands, London and the Home Counties rather than focusing all airport developments in west London or a bird sanctuary in the Thames estuary.

Birmingham Airport is operating under capacity and it could, if developed further, provide further high quality and well paid jobs for local people whilst playing a major contribution to solving Britain’s aviation logjams.

It does not help when the most high profile Brummie on the mainstream media, Lord Jones, deliberately downplays Birmingham in favour of west London. It’s time to back Birmingham – not Belgravia.

James Watkins

Former Executive Director, Business Voice WM