The thriving automotive sector in the West Midlands has helped German airline Lufthansa achieverecord passenger levels at Birmingham Airport.
Birmingham Airport was top UK performer for growth in 2012 for Lufthansa, following an increase of around 21 per cent to an all-time high annual total of over 586,000.
Christian Schindler, the airline’s general manager UK and Ireland, said the West Midlands car industry, with Jaguar Land Rover creating thousands of new jobs at the Jaguar plant at Castle Bromwich and Land Rover at Solihull, was playing a key role in the substantial passenger rise.
“It has been a buoyant but challenging market but we have fared much better than the market," he said. "Birmingham saw 21 per cent passenger growth compared to 2011.
“The Birmingham market likes Lufthansa and Lufthansa likes the Birmingham market. Most of the traffic is from the UK to Germany, with Frankfurt and Munich the most popular routes.
“You have the connections between the two powerhouses of Europe, UK and Germany, and there is a lot of contact between German and British industry.”
Mr Schindler said the car industry was a key factor in the passenger growth from Birmingham, particularly to the likes of Germany and Austria.
“I would say that this is down to automotive. We have a lot of small to medium-sized firms in Germany that supply big firms.Our corporate travel can only flourish if business is working – if business is not working, there is no travel.
“It proves our commitment to Birmingham was fully justified when we added services to Hamburg and Berlin during 2012.
“As well as offering passengers easy access to many of the main German cities, we continue to ensure that our flights to and from Birmingham offer the shortest possible onward connection times to our worldwide network through our hubs of Frankfurt and Munich.
“Our most popular onward destinations for passengers from Birmingham include Jeddah, Delhi, Beijing, Moscow, Johannesburg.”