Air­port mas­ter­plan will help us hit new heights

Birmingham Post - - FIRST WORLD WAR ARMISTICE -

in­fra­struc­ture are be­ing matched by our re­gion’s key busi­ness sec­tors and I’m de­lighted to be speak­ing at the launch of Birm­ing­ham Air­port’s new mas­ter­plan.

This sets out plans to make a self-fi­nanced £500 mil­lion in­vest­ment to ex­pand and en­hance fa­cil­i­ties over the next 15 years, while mak­ing much more in­tense use of the ex­ist­ing sin­gle run­way.

Birm­ing­ham Air­port is an in­te­gral part of the re­gion’s in­fra­struc­ture and of the Mid­lands Engine.

The mas­ter­plan re­in­forces the cen­tral role the air­port plays as a cat­a­lyst for growth and it out­lines how the air­port will drive fur­ther eco­nomic ben­e­fit to the re­gion.

This is set to in­crease by 42 per cent by 2033, to a to­tal of £2.1 bil­lion a year, sup­port­ing 34,000 jobs.

The im­prove­ments to pas­sen­ger ser­vices will help show­case the very best of the re­gion as Coven­try be­comes UK City of Cul­ture in 2021 and Birm­ing­ham hosts the Com­mon­wealth Games in 2022.

As well as de­liv­er­ing for the re­gion, the air­port is also help­ing drive eco­nomic pros­per­ity for the rest of the coun­try.

Last month, I joined Min­is­te­rial Cham­pion for the Mid­lands Engine, James Bro­ken­shire MP as part of a del­e­ga­tion to In­dia to help de­velop trade links with the world’s sev­enth largest econ­omy. We are start­ing from a good base. A to­tal of 657,000 pas­sen­gers have flown with Air In­dia from Birm­ing­ham to des­ti­na­tions across In­dia since 2013. In that time, travel be­tween Birm­ing­ham and Delhi has grown by 88 per cent, while travel to Am­rit­sar has grown by over 300 per cent. Our re­gion has a his­toric bond with In­dia and I am keen to grow these routes, ex­pand trade, and ex­plore new con­nec­tions with In­dia’s other ma­jor hubs.

Back at home, the West Mid­lands is al­ready at the heart of the UK travel net­work, and this will only be en­hanced by the ar­rival of HS2.

When it opens in 2026, Birm­ing­ham Air­port will be the only air­port served di­rectly by high-speed rail – just 38 min­utes from cen­tral Lon­don, of­fer­ing a real al­ter­na­tive for South-East air­line cus­tomers.

We are on the cusp of a pe­riod of great suc­cess in the West Mid­lands and to­day’s plan from Birm­ing­ham Air­port re­in­forces the dy­namism.

Nowhere is that more in ev­i­dence than in the area im­me­di­ately around the air­port ; with JLR’s cen­tre of man­u­fac­tur­ing in Soli­hull, the on­go­ing in­vest­ment in the NEC – now un­der the own­er­ship of the Black­stone Group – and the prospect of Steven Knight, cre­ator of Peaky Blin­ders bring­ing his own brand of film stu­dios to the area. For cer­tain, this must be one of the most in­vestable ar­eas in Bri­tain and Europe.

As Mayor, it’s now my job to show­case this po­ten­tial to the re­gion, the coun­try and the world. Andy Street is Mayor of the West

Mid­lands (Con­ser­va­tive)

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