Express & Star

Birmingham Airport reveals £500m masterplan in major transformation

Birmingham Airport will be bigger and better for passengers under a £500 million, 15-year masterplan to turn it into one of Europe's leading regional destinations.

CGI of expanded and improved facilities at Birmingham Airport as part of a £500m 15-year masterplan

The aim is to be handling 18 million passengers a year by 2033 – a 40 per cent increase on the current traffic of around 13 million a year.

It includes a new baggage handling area to improve efficiency – welcome news for hundreds of passengers caught up in delays in recent years.

At the same time road links will be improved to help passengers get to the terminal, including a new junction from the M42. The airport will also be the site of a new railway station as part of the HS2 development.

Airport bosses plan to raise £500 million over the course of the masterplan to spend on a range of new and improved facilities.

Aerial CGI showing how Birmingham Airport will look following completion of a 15-year £500m development masterplan

In the terminal there will be a larger departures lounge with more toilets, public seating, shops, bars and restaurants and with a glazed mezzanine, introducing natural light.

On the ground floor, the check in area will be improved to provide more space and the latest bag-drop technology to improve service for passengers. The ground floor will also see a new back-of-house baggage sorting area intended to improve operational efficiency. A string of baggage handling problems have tarnished the airport's reputation in recent years, although there were significant improvements this summer.

Money will also be spent on enlarging the airport's security area, while a new arrivals area should also provide a better passenger experience.

As part of the aim to handle more passengers, the airport will change the layout of its existing aircraft stands – the parking bays for passenger jets while they load and unload passengers and cargo – and build additional new stands, taking the airport from 58 operational stands today to 69 by 2033.

But there will be no second runway.

CGI of expanded and improved check-in facilities at Birmingham Airport as part of a £500m 15-year masterplan

Birmingham Airport says it existing runway – extended four years ago and now long enough for aircraft flying to China or the West Coast of America – is already capable of handling up to 30 million flights a year.

The masterplan, boldy dubbing Birmingham 'The Midlands Gateway to the World', was unveiled by airport chiefs and civic leaders at a breakfast meeting at the Marco Pierre White Champagne Bar atop the landmark Cube building in Birmingham today.

Simon Richards, the airport's acting managing director, said: “Birmingham Airport is already the preferred national and international aviation hub for the Midlands and our ambition is to build on this to become one of Europe’s leading regional airports, acting as a key economic accelerator, delivering great service to passengers, and helping to showcase the region.

“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.”