Today (24 October 2016) The Government announce their plans for London with regards to Airport Expansion. I thought it was an apt time to once again launch my views in this comment first published on the 28th September 2016.
I constantly harp on about the importance of Birmingham International Airport.
It is an important piece of infrastructure for Wolverhampton. It is the City’s gateway to the World, and the World’s gateway to Wolverhampton. Attached by rail, and long distance coach operation, plus great motorway links. Birmingham Airport is an hour from the heart of our City. If we are to become even better connected, we need the Airport to be able to reach across the World with commercial flights. We desperately need our industry and commerce, our University our further education and service Industry’s to be well connected across the globe.
I am very pleased that the Airport board has announced the £100m of investment which is detailed in this article. I for one however am very keen to see the Government sort out its strategy for Regional Airports.
The pressure to develop Heathrow should only be delivered after Regional Airports like Brum have played a more fulsome role in our own regional development. Wolverhampton is a major share-holder in Birmingham International Airport, when we campaign and speak up for the Airport, we speak up for our great City of Wolverhampton.
Birmingham Airport has announced it is investing £100m in improving its facilities and infrastructure, including hold-baggage screening, self-service check-in, surface access, additional car parking and air traffic control.
A programme is underway to replace the current hold baggage screening system with an advanced x-ray system, which will more than double the hourly baggage processing capacity.
Other major improvements include developing a drop off car park, which will be free for 30 minutes and connected with a covered walkway to the terminal entrance. Existing car parks will also be upgraded, and a new surface car park is planned.
An ambitious programme to double the number of self-service bag drop kiosks will be installed as well as digital check-in branding to improve operational efficiency and aid passengers.
The ATC Surface Movement Radar will be upgraded to enable critical safety enhancements and operational capacity.
Paul Kehoe, the Airport’s chief executive, said: “We have seen enormous growth at Birmingham Airport over the last few years and we are currently welcoming 11m passengers a year through our terminal.
“We’re therefore making this investment to enhance operational efficiency and improve the passenger journey in time for the summer ‘17 season, when we’ll welcome 15 new routes with Jet2 and anticipate in excess of 12m passengers over the next year.
“Looking more long-term, Birmingham Airport is in a unique position, as in 10 years’ time it will become the UK’s only HS2 connected airport, growing the catchment into London with high-speed trains and serving Birmingham from the capital in circa 30 minutes.
“We’re therefore working on our master plan to look at options which maximise the benefits of HS2 for Birmingham, the wider region, airlines and passengers.
“This will allow us to scope out how we can create a truly integrated transport network that can take the pressure off the overheated London system and transform our facility from a 25 million potential passenger site to 60m plus in the future.”