Birmingham Airport adds its support to Gatwick Airport expansion

Chief executive of Birmingham Airport Paul Kehoe and London Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate - picture submitted by Gatwick Airport
Chief executive of Birmingham Airport Paul Kehoe and London Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate - picture submitted by Gatwick Airport

The chief executive of Birmingham Airport has voiced his support for a second runway at Gatwick Airport to promote competition and choice in air travel across the UK.

Paul Kehoe stood alongside Gatwick’s chief executive Stewart Wingate to jointly deliver the message at the Conservative Party Conference.

Speaking after the event, Mr Kehoe said: “Passengers and businesses tell us they want to fly direct.

“With our region attracting over a quarter of the UK’s foreign direct investment, we are clear that the answer is a network of national long-haul airports, plugging all regions into global growth opportunities.

“Growth at Gatwick will support demand for greater connectivity, improving value for passengers flying from the South East and supporting the continued growth of our regions.”

Mr Wingate added: “Competition between the UK’s airports is essential for delivering choice for passengers, businesses and investors across the country.

“By expanding Gatwick we can harness the strength of the country’s network of great airports, delivering new South East capacity and supporting the growth of connectivity across the UK.

“This is why we are delighted that Birmingham Airport is supporting our case for a second runway.”

The joint announcement comes as County Times website readers narrowly supported Gatwick for a second runway over expansion at Heathrow.

The final result of our poll at the time of writing was 53 per cent to Gatwick, 45 per cent to Heathrow and two per of voters said they were unsure. A total of 1,115 votes were cast.

There has also been criticism that politicians and debate is being focussed on the South East when residents and businesses the rest of the UK could benefit from airport expansion.

The Airports Commission is currently looking at all the evidence regarding airport expansion and has shortlisted a second runway at Gatwick and a third at Heathrow.

It has also shortlisted Heathrow’s proposal to extend its northern runway so it can operate as two runways.

A new airport in the Thames Estuary - supported by London Mayor Boris Johnson - has been ruled out by the Commission.

The Commission will make its recommendation to Parliament after the next election in May 2015. MPs will make the final decision on where expansion should go.

For more information on the debate go to the Airports Commission website