Don't Put All Your Eggs In One Basket

Birmingham Airport's new report analyses existing trends within the global aviation industry and demonstrates how they challenge orthodox opinions about aviation policy in the UK. It argues that in order for Britain to capture the economic benefits of changes in global travel, the UK must have an aviation industry with the resilience and the capacity to satisfy future growth.

The main points are:

  • Complicated hub-and-spoke demand management policies are failing to adapt to the challenges of aviation in the twenty-first century.
  • Britain needs several airports capable of delivering point-to-point connectivity to emerging markets.
  • A third runway at Heathrow will only meet 7% of additional passenger capacity needs by 2050; it is not a national aviation strategy.
  • The six largest regional airports could add 116 million of passenger capacity to the network by 2050.

The report calls for the government to pursue a balanced aviation strategy that spreads the economic gain and environmental pain from growth within the industry. This would allow businesses and customers across the whole of Britain to connect to the most dynamic and fastest growing markets in emerging economies.

The report can be downloaded here.

Wider Growth, Wider Connectivity

Birmingham Airport's response to the Government's Draft Aviation Policy Framework argues that making the best use of capacity at existing airports should be the Government's number one short-term policy priority. The report

  • Presents evidence showing that Birmingham Airport's catchment area has a competitive advantage within the UK for manufacturing exports. Case studies from business leaders highlight the restrictions a lack of long-haul connectivity from Birmingham Airport places on their companies.
  • Calls on the Government to implement four short-term demand management policy levers and an integrated surface access strategy to incentivise airlines to invest in new long-haul connectivity from outside the South East.
  • Shows what can be achieved when best-practice methods are implemented with regards to carbon emissions, noise pollution and community engagement.

The report can be downloaded here.

Great Airports for Great Cities: the case for offering genuine passenger choice by investing in a network of major national airports

Birmingham Airport commissioned Capital Economics to explore, from a macroeconomic perspective, the case for expanded long-haul passenger air capacity at the Airport.

Their report fundamentally challenges the suggestion that demand only exists for services to long-haul markets from the South East. The research shows that, currently:

  • Birmingham Airport is the most accessible airport with 35 million people living within a 2 hour journey time, including the Midlands, mid-Wales and the South West.
  • The Airport's catchment area has the second largest market for long-haul leisure and business travel, with over 1 million business trips made in 2011 to China/India, North America/rest of Asia and the Middle East.
  • Nearly 8 million economically active people live in the catchment area, supporting ½ million businesses, 6½ million employees and the largest pool of managerial class workers.
  • The catchment economy specialises in high-value manufacturing sectors including transport, automotive, aerospace, machinery and military equipment.
  • The catchment attracts ¼ of all Foreign Direct Investment and exported £55 billion of goods, but has no direct air links to key high-growth markets.
  • Birmingham Airport could take the pressure of overheated Heathrow with 7½ million people living within the 90-120 minute overlapping catchments between the two airports.

The report supports the case for a network of 'national airports'. The UK has substantial, discrete catchments areas large enough to support at least three great long-haul airports across England and Wales. Without a distributed approach, airports will become overheated and fail to help rebalance the UK economy.

The report can be downloaded here.

Submissions to the Airports Commission

Making the best use of existing capacity in the short and medium-term

Birmingham Airport's response to the Airports Commission's call for evidence on how to make best use of capacity in the short-medium term, shows that the Airport could handle 27 million passengers by 2021 with only minor developments to existing infrastructure.

The "five ways" to make best use of spare aviation capacity outlined in the submission are:-

  • Launch a “Great British Airports" marketing campaign at the 2013 World Routes convention
  • Trial fifth freedom rights for non-EU carriers seeking to offer long-haul services from airports outside the South East
  • Implement a differential tax regime at airports with spare capacity
  • Implement a congestion charge at over-capacity airports
  • Promote consumer choice through surface access improvements

The submission can be downloaded here.

Proposal for providing additional capacity in the longer term

Birmingham Airport submitted its proposal for providing additional capacity in the longer term to the Airports Commission on 19th July 2013. The submission explains that a second runway at Birmingham Airport would allow the Airport to handle 70 million passenger per annum, with room for further, very long-term growth.

The submission asks, amongst other requests, that:

  • The Airport's proposal for a new full length runway to the East of the current site be short-listed and/ or the land for the new site safeguarded by the Commission for future development, subject to appropriate growth in passenger traffic.
  • The Airport's proposal is recognised and short-listed as a scheme that could provide additional capacity for the UK in the long-term, and would form an essential part of a national aviation strategy based on a network of major long-haul airports.
  • The Commission acknowledges that the proposed expansion scheme is fully aligned with existing and emerging regional development and transport investment strategies: GBSLEP's Delivering Growth, Solihull's M42 Economic Gateway; UK Central, the Black Country LEP's Core Strategy and High Speed 2.
  • The Commission acknowledges that regional LEPs, business community and councils recognise that expansion of Birmingham Airport and the continued development of direct connectivity with the rest of the world will support and create thousands of jobs in an area of high unemployment.
  • The Commission agrees that the wider development scheme, with HS2 and UK Central, be recognised as a project of national significance.

The full public submission can be downloaded here here.

Airports Commission Discussion Paper I:
Aviation Demand Forecasting – a response from Birmingham Airport

Birmingham Airport's response to the Airports Commission on aviation demand forecasting argues that using a national demand forecast is insufficient to develop an aviation strategy that supports economies across the UK, and critiques the weaknesses and assumptions in the existing model. In order to inform its response, Birmingham Airport commissioned York Aviation to do a summary paper which can be read here.
Birmingham Airport's submission can be read here.

Airports Commission Discussion Paper 2:
Aviation Connectivity and the Economy – a response from Birmingham Airport

Birmingham Airport's response to the Airports Commission on aviation connectivity and the economy argues that the UK currently suffers an acute regional 'connectivity gap', and that as a result we are not maximising economic activity. Taking the Midlands as a case study, the response argues that only by having their own long-haul international gateways can each significant regional economy support business activity and prosperity. A network of major international gateways is needed to empower businesses across the whole of the UK to attract investment and provide new markets for their goods and services. The response is endorsed by a wide array of Chambers of Commerce and Local Enterprise Partnerships across the Midlands.
Birmingham Airport's submission can be read here.

Airports Commission Discussion Paper 3
Aviation and Climate Change - a response by Birmingham Airport

Birmingham Airport's response to the Aviation and Climate Change paper argues that the Airport has been successful in working proactively in collaboration with both Air Traffic Control and Airlines to significantly reduce CO2 emissions within the local airspace infrastructure and on the ground at the Airport. Birmingham Airport's submission can be read online here.

Airports Commission Discussion Paper 4
Airport Operating Models - a response from Birmingham Airport

Birmingham Airport's response to the Airport Operating Models paper argues that, with secondary airports in retreat, a network of resilient airports is essential to maintain connectivity and growth for businesses – and choice for passengers - outside the South East. It argues that, at a time when the aviation industry is changing quickly and its future shape is unclear, a network approach provides the flexibility and resilience that the UK needs to respond to all future scenarios. Birmingham Airport's submission can be read online here.

Airports Commission Discussion Paper 5
Aviation Noise - a response from Birmingham Airport

Birmingham Airport's response to the Aviation Noise paper argues that the Airport has a strong track record in noise management. It provides examples that illustrate our overall objective 'to work with our stakeholders, including the local community and industry partners, to adopt the best practicable means to assess, manage and minimise the impact of aircraft noise both now and in the future'. In the long-term, the paper outlines how Birmingham's vision will have a net benefit for the wider community - which includes 'respite periods' and an elimination of significant night noise exposure for the majority of the local population. Birmingham Airport's submission can be read online here.