Second runway ruled out under Birmingham Airport masterplan

By Simon Penfold | Birmingham | Business | Published:

The boss of Birmingham Airport has confirmed proposals for a second runway have been scrapped as a £500 million masterplan for the next 15 years was unveiled.

Birmingham Airport will continue to use its single runway

Acting managing director Simon Richards said the idea of a second runway had been pitched as part of the hope that the Government would choose to expand regional airports rather than build a third runway at Heathrow.

That hope was dashed this summer. Now, said Mr Richards, Birmingham Airport's future plans revolved around its single runway, which is enough to cater for up to 30 million passengers a year.

By 2033 Birmingham expects to be handling 18 million passengers a year, and has unveiled a string of expansion plans for the site.

The masterplan makes no mention of the UK's imminent departure from the European Union, but Mr Richards said: "The plans are Brexit neutral.

"We are expecting things to carry smoothly as they are at present.

"I am sure things will be bumpy along the way but the masterplan is designed to be resilient whatever happens."

CGI of the proposed HS2 Interchange station to be built near Birmingham Airport


The plan has already received widespread support.

Corin Crane, chief executive of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, said: "Birmingham Airport have laid out some very exciting plans that will help make an already excellent airport even better and see passenger numbers increase year on year as well as become one of the best connected sites in the UK.

"The airport is an incredibly important asset to the local business community for flights, freight and international trade so it’s essential that as many businesses as possible feed into the consultation process as possible.”

Simon Richards, acting managing director of Birmingham Airport, explaining the new 15-year masterplan


Mr Richards said the airport was already in the process of selecting contractors for the first phase of work, improving and enlarging the passenger terminal and baggage sorting areas and would aim to have the work done over the next two years.

"The enlargement of the security area and the introduction of new x-ray equipment – which will allow people to carry liquids in their baggage – is part of a Government process that will take place over the next three to four years," he said.

"We will also look to re-organise the airport stands (the parking bays for aircraft to load and unload) and make them wider as aircraft have got bigger."

New transport links will connect Birmingham Airport to the International Railway Station and the new HS2 Interchange station

Work on the HS2 Interchange station is expected to be complete by 2026, and the airport is working with the HS2 team on developing a new transport system to taking passengers from the Interchange, stopping at the current Birmingham International railway station, and on to the airport terminal.

"A meeting next week will start looking at the options and designs," said Mr Richards.

Looking ahead, the airport wants to safeguard plots of land to allow for further expansion and talks are under way over the use of the NEC's western car park, which is owned by Birmingham council – one of the seven West Midlands local authorities that part owns the airport along with a consortium of Canadian pension funds. The car park site would be used to create more aircraft stands, probably towards the end of the 15 year masterplan period, said Mr Richards.

And he said the plan, which he described as 'self-financing', had the backing of the airport's current investors as well as new investors including major US pension funds involved in the debt funding market.

The growth of the airport over the next 15 years would also see a rise in employment on the site. The airport itself employs around 850 people, with a total of 8,000 working across the whole site for airlines, engineering, maintenance, cleaning and catering businesses. That is expected to rise by 11 per cent, or around 800 people, over the 15 years, said Mr Richards.

A masterplan 'roadshow' is going on tour over the coming weeks to get the views of people across the West Midlands s part of a consultation process. It comes to Wolverhampton's Novatel Hotel on December 10, Dudley Town Hall on December 12, Walsalls Holiday Inn on January 7 and the Hadley Stadium in Smethwick on January 22.

Simon Penfold

By Simon Penfold
Business Editor - @SPenfold_star

Business Editor based at the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton, looking for stories big & small.


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