Birmingham Airport bosses have welcomed Boris Johnson’s proposal to build a new airport in the south east – and turn Heathrow Airport into a major housing estate.

An alliance is developing between the London Mayor and Birmingham Airport over the future of the UK’s aviation industry.

Birmingham is fighting plans to build a third runway at Heathrow.

Instead, it wants the Government to give a greater role to airports outside London, so that the UK has a number of “national” airports – in the south east, Birmingham and Manchester, as well as one in Glasgow.

And it gave a warm response to Mr Johnson’s proposals, which include a new, four-runway airport in Kent or an airport on an artificial island in the Thames Estuary.

Paul Kehoe, CEO of Birmingham Airport, said: “What we need is great airports for great cities. This means London, Birmingham and Manchester all having the airports they need to succeed.

"A network of airports to provide the flexibility and resilience the UK needs to respond to changes in aviation industry.

“If the Commission decides that the solution to the South East is a new mega-hub, and it can overcome the immense challenges to building it, Birmingham Airport is ideally placed to support London during that transition period.”

Paul Kehoe, chief executive of Birmingham Airport
Paul Kehoe, chief executive of Birmingham Airport
 

Talking about the future of Heathrow, should a new airport be sited elsewhere, Mr Johnson said that part of west London, with good transport links, had the space and infrastructure to generate up to 100,000 new, badly needed homes.

Birmingham Airport has published proposals for a second runway and terminal, allowing it to serve 70 million passengers each year – equal to Heathrow’s current throughput.

The scheme has been criticised by environmental campaigners Friends of the Earth.

As part of the plan, a much- expanded airport would sit alongside a new business park for the manufacturing sector and a huge new conference centre at the NEC.

The second runway and terminal would be on the far side of the M42.