The latest from the Black Country 

Airports: A Strategy for Business

colinleighfieldsmallResponding to the news that Manchester Airport has revealed plans to expand its ‘Fly Manchester’ campaign into the West Midlands and Yorkshire, Colin Leighfield, Director, B. E. Wedge Holdings Ltd. and Chair of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce Transport Policy Group said:

“There are too many groups claiming to know what Black Country businesses want in terms of access to air travel. We have the CBI saying that businesses support the extension of Heathrow and Heathrow itself proclaiming that it is the ‘Nation’s asset’ when it comes to air travel.

“When I talk to local businesses two things become clear: firstly the lack of joined up thinking in the whole aviation debate. Businesses are fed up with negative publicity and point scoring. They want to see Birmingham, their local airport, developing a joint strategy with other airports to ensure that Black Country businesses get a better service than they have now in terms of both freight and passenger travel.

“Very few local businesses want their employees or their wagons having to drive to Heathrow or Gatwick in order to travel abroad or fulfil an export order.

“The Black Country Chamber of Commerce manifesto pushes for a combined UK Transport infrastructure body that ensures the UK and international travel not only receives the appropriate funding it needs but that transport strategy is integrated. We are fed up with the ‘free for all’ approach with airports competing with each other rather than working with each other strategically to deliver a significantly improved service to passengers and freight users and then working with other transport partners to deliver an access strategy that positively benefits users.

“The Davies commission advocacy of a hub and spoke model fails to take into account technological advances in aircraft design and can be seen, once again, as having a South East centric focus. This runs counter to the strategy for HS2 which aims, as one of its benefits, to rebalance the national economy. It is therefore nonsense to have an air and a rail strategy that contradict each other.

“The local businesses I talk to want all their services from Birmingham Airport with improved access and they want the Davies commission to hear that they want a strategy that supports a network of strong airports for our great cities, not a single hub.”

Last modified on Friday, 17 October 2014 10:11

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