£ 500M LIFT- OFF!

Brum air­port an­nounces huge 15- year plan to ex­pand with re­vamped fa­cil­i­ties and new routes

Solihull News - - FRONT PAGE - TAM­LYN JONES tam­lyn.jones@reach­plc.com

BIRM­ING­HAM Air­port is to un­dergo a £ 500 mil­lion facelift and in­vest­ment as it in­creases ca­pac­ity by five mil­lion pas­sen­gers a year.

The trans­for­ma­tion will take place over the next 15 years and will im­prove fa­cil­i­ties, add new routes and pro­vide bet­ter traf­fic ac­cess.

Among the changes planned are:

A larger de­par­ture lounge with a mez­za­nine floor, new re­tail and restau­rant units, more toi­lets and seat­ing.

The ground floor check- in area will be re­vamped to have more self- ser­vice desks and the lat­est bag- drop tech­nol­ogy.

A new back- of- house bag­gage sort­ing area will be aimed at im­prov­ing ef­fi­ciency.

The se­cu­rity area will be en­larged and a new ar­rivals sec­tion will be cre­ated.

There will also be 11 ad­di­tional air­craft stands and bet­ter pub­lic trans­port and road ac­cess for pas­sen­gers.

But the an­nounce­ment quashes any lin­ger­ing ques­tions over whether a sec­ond run­way will be opened any time soon as the air­port says its aims are all achiev­able on the cur­rent sin­gle run­way, in line with Govern­ment pol­icy of mak­ing the best use of ex­ist­ing run­ways.

The trans­for­ma­tion will fuel the air­port’s aim of in­creas­ing pas­sen­ger num­bers to 18 mil­lion by the year 2033.

Al­though this is still well short of its es­ti­mated 30 mil­lion max­i­mum, it would still rep­re­sent an in­crease of around five mil­lion pas­sen­gers per year.

The air­port is also plan­ning to se­cure a greater choice of flights and des­ti­na­tions, both short and long- haul routes, along­side more char­ter ser­vices and des­ti­na­tions with full- ser­vice and bud­get car­ri­ers, adding to its ex­ist­ing 150 des­ti­na­tions.

Birm­ing­ham Air­port, the UK’s sev­enth largest, claims the self­funded in­vest­ment will raise its con­tri­bu­tion to the lo­cal econ­omy from £ 1.5 bil­lion to £ 2.1 bil­lion a year and take em­ploy­ment to 34,000 jobs in 2033. The changes would sit along­side im­proved

re­gional con­nec­tiv­ity and a di­rect link to the HS2 In­ter­change sta­tion, set to be built around 1.2 miles away.

The mas­ter­plan – en­ti­tled The Mid­lands Gate­way to the World – is launched to­day and kicks off a three- month pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion.

Act­ing man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Si­mon Richards says: “Over the next 15 years, we will ex­pand and sig­nif­i­cantly im­prove the air­port to max­imise our po­ten­tial as a sin­gle run­way air­port by in­vest­ing £ 500 mil­lion.

“Our plans take ac­count of our fore­cast growth and will in­crease op­er­a­tional ef­fi­ciency for our air­lines and part­ners and im­prove the ex­pe­ri­ence for our pas­sen­gers.”

Pub­lic ex­hi­bi­tions will take place through­out the West Mid­lands from Novem­ber 12 to Jan­uary 22, 2019, and the con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod ends on Jan­uary 31, 2019.

The fi­nal ver­sion of the mas­ter­plan will be pub­lished early next year.

CGI of plans for a new check- in area with self- ser­vice desks

CGI of plans for a new de­par­ture lounge with mez­za­nine floor

The ex­ist­ing check- in area

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