Birmingham International Airport has received a major boost after an inquiry warned that regional airports must be included in a planned high speed rail line.
The Commons Transport Committee said it was “imperative” that trains running at up to 225mph stopped at major airports outside London.
Birmingham Airport has been calling for a direct link with the planned high speed line, and has won the support of Birmingham City Council and Advantage West Midlands, the regional development agency.
But no decision has yet been made on the route of the new service, and it could go to Birmingham city centre instead, bypassing the airport entirely.
The case for running trains to Britain’s major airports was backed by MPs following a lengthy inquiry into the nation’s aviation industry.
They said: “We look forward to the creation of a high-speed rail network for the UK. It is imperative that this includes links to some of our major airports.
“Provided that good quality airport links are provided, high-speed rail will provide an alternative to some domestic flights, a welcome choice for passengers and strengthen the UK’s major airports.”
Committee members included Mark Pritchard (Con The Wrekin).
The Government has set up a company called High Speed Two to draw up a detailed route for the planned rail link, which will initially run between London and Birmingham. Ministers said the service would be expanded to take in more cities in the future.
Conservatives are also planning a high speed rail line and say they want to run services between London and Birmingham as well as cities such as Manchester and Leeds.
Whichever party is in power after the next election, the planned route of a high speed rail line is likely to be a highly contentious issue.
A spokesman for Birmingham International Airport said it better transport links would allow it to serve passengers currently travelling from Heathrow, where capacity is limited.
“We could take some of the pressure off Heathrow and the over-heated south east.
“At the moment, the airport is an under-utilised national resource.”
The airport has revealed last month that it may need to cancel a planned £120 million runway extension because it could not afford the work and the business case was “marginal at best”.
But the spokesman said: “We currently serve around nine million passengers a year, and with the facilities are already have at the airport that could be increased to around 18 million.”
The Transport Committee report said the Government was right to back a third runway at Heathrow, and warned there was no evidence that high-speed rail offered a viable alternative to Heathrow expansion.
However, MPs accused the Government of a “laissez-faire” approach to aviation, saying the industry enjoyed certain taxation advantages but received “little direct public funding”.
They also said it was “unsatisfactory that the Government leaves such a key industry to the vagaries of the market”.
The MPs also called for higher environmental standards to reduce C02, air pollution and noise. The Government was also urged to ensure older and noisier planes were taken out of use promptly.