The decision by Birmingham Airport to announce a second runway is informed in large part by a report from the West Midlands Economic Forum – an independent group of experts from the private, public and voluntary sector.
The report, called Exports, Economics and Connectivity, says this:
- The West Midlands has some of the most successful businesses in the country, many of whom are exporting.
- They already export to key economies like China, Brazil, Arabian countries and India and these countries are growing at sometimes double-digit rates.
- Airlines are buying new aircraft – and in some numbers – Ryanair have just bought 175.
- Long haul airlines want “hub” airports where people can shuttle to and from to connect to long haul destinations. Birmingham has linked with Turkish airlines – one of the fastest growing long haul which sees Birmingham as its European hub.
The report says that business and tourism is now global and “economies that fail to adequately respond to new economic and commercial imperatives are likely to be locked into extended periods of stagnation or decline. It quotes the CBI which says Birmingham is in danger of becoming a branch line. But it can capitalise. The report says:
“The economic catchment area of Birmingham Airport hosts some of the country’s most successful, manufacturing, logistics, and service sector operations,”
Many export and can export more with better connections to their markets. Airport with high-speed rail links – Luxembourg, Cologne, Brussels – handle more freight. No British airport is in the top ten of cargo airports. Most exports are in high value goods – machine tools, pharmaceuticals, automotive and aviation – areas to Midlands thrives in. But the UK handles just 2 per cent of all cargo transported around the world – but that is a third of the value of international trade.
Long Haul and national airlines – like to have partnerships – with other airlines and with airport which can become “hubs” for their services.
The theory is people can shuttle to and from the hubs to get to long haul destinations.
So rather than go to Heathrow, people can for instance fly from Birmingham. Birmingham Airport has tied up with Turkish Airlines – one of the fastest growing airlines in the world.
Turkish offers its hub as Istanbul – so people can fly from Birmingham to Istanbul and on to long haul airports around the world.
Middle East airline growth set to grow by 6.4 per cent; business growth in Australia – 3.5 per cent;Brazil imports – 7.6 per cent; China import growth – 10 per cent, India import growth – 9 per cent. The Midlands must capitalise on this economic growth around the world by trading with growing nations.
Airlines are expanding, not contracting. Ryanair for example has ordered 175 new jets.
Airlines want to partner up with smaller airlines and airports to shuttle passengers onto their services and offer long haul destinations from smaller airports which previously couldn’t offer that.
The report is clear:
“It’s not a question of if, but how Birmingham Airport can be expected to become a significant component of the emerging new globalised aviation framework.”