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New Airport For Birmingham?  
User currently offline757man From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2001, 370 posts, RR: 1
Posted (14 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 2623 times:

The Financial Times has recently printed an article suggesting the the Government is looking at the possibilty of building a new airport for Birmingham, England. The current airport serving the UK's second city (BHX) handles around 8 million passengers a year, but there are concerns regarding the lack of space to expand, and the main 2600m runway being too short. The cost of extending the runway to 3000m looks too expensive due to the rerouting of the A45 Coventry Road, which runs very close to the threshold of runway 33. The current plans for BHX envisage expansion of the current terminals up to the year 2015, but after this expansion has been completed, there will simply be no space left to expand further. The new airport would be built very close to the M6 motorway, though how far from Birmingham City Centre is unknown. BHX currently lies 7.5 miles from the centre. Could this be goodbye BHX? Or does it mean Birmingham will be serves by two airports? BHX could perhaps focus on domestic and short haul services, and the new airport could be used for long haul flights - With the congestion LHR currently suffers, long haul flights from this new airport could be a real possibilty. I reckon the goverment are thinking of an overflow for the London airports. Birmingham is only 120 miles from the capital, and it the railways improve, it would mean a journey time of only 90 minutes between the two cities.

The government are also looking at the possibilty of building a new airport in the Kent area. It was quite a shock to read this, especially with the amount of money invested in BHX over the last 15 years.

13 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineBDRules From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2000, 1501 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (14 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 2524 times:

The new sight in Kent is Ashford i think isnt it

User currently offlineToady From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2001, 724 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (14 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 2524 times:

Kent? Damn! This county is already the country's biggest building site. In fact, the high speed rail link is currently the world's largest construction site - some 40 odd miles long x up to 3/4 mile wide.
Couldn't Manston be developed instead of more land being lost elsewhere?

User currently offlineDavid_itl From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 7808 posts, RR: 13
Reply 3, posted (14 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 2504 times:
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I doubt there would be 2 airports for Birmingham; the new airport would need feeder routes for the long-haul, so BHX would close, with routes transferred.

That report also is reputed to say:

"The new site would allow for additional runway capacity, currently 60% of BHX traffic is business, this is a bigger propotion of higher margin scheduled flights than Manchester.
In the North of England the consultation paper suggests the increased use of Leeds and Sheffield City."

Therefore, I had to do the comparison:
BHX: Scheduled 62.8% : Charter 37.2%
MAN: Scheduled 49.1% Charter 50.9%.

It's a moot point about whether scheduled services can be considered "higher margin" though!

If the government is concerned about LHR congestion, they should get more airlines to service the regions, freeing up capacity on existing routes, so that passengers from the South East aren't denied boarding as it would be particularly dumb to have the masses of domestic transfer traffic stopping them travelling locally! The strange sentence in that report is about the North of England. If Finningley gets approved, there is every likelihood that LBA and SZD will get fewer flights, nor is there any mention of the expected (!) doubling (!!!) of passenger numbers at MAN over the next 15 years.


User currently offline757man From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2001, 370 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (14 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 2496 times:

I agree about Birmingham only having the one airport. The market BHX serves is quite large, but two airports could no way operate alongside one another - The market is simply not large enough for two.

I recall back in the late 1970's (when the new terminal building was proposed) that a site 3 miles down the road (towards Coventry) was looked at for a new airport site. There was plenty of space in this area for quite a large airport to be built, with lots of space to expand in the future. However, it was deemed cheaper to build the new terminal on the far side of Elmdon airport, this terminal of course now known as T1 Main. If the authorities did decide to build the airport in the other location (Stonebridge) then I doubt if we'd be reading this report in the FT.

The biggest problem for BHX (especially during the last ten years) has been it's limited size and insufficient runway length. Several long haul carriers have been interested in serving the airport, but have turned away due to the short runway. CX is a prime example.

I'm not suggesting that if the runway was expanded there would be a sudden surge of long haul services operating from the airport, because that wouldn't happen. However, it would enable existing operators to operate larger aircraft with max payload on certain routes (AA and CO), and it would make the airport more attractive to prospective operators. It is a well known fact that AA struggles to operate it's 767-300 fully loaded during the summer months - Some cargo has had to be left behind on several occasions because the aircraft wouldn't make if off the runway.

Still, whatever happens, BHX will be around for quite a few more years to come. It will take years for the powers that be to draw up plans for a new airport, and lets be honest, it may never happen at all. If it does, then I'll be around 65 years old, balding and have a pot belly when it opens. I'm currently 24. Plus, just look at how long T5 at LHR took - and it's still years away from completion.

User currently offlineAmmunition From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2002, 1065 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (14 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 2484 times:

the area surrounding the M6 is very highy populated, and i dont think there is very much space near birmingham for a new airport to be built. i know that from junction 10- junction 4 there is no room, and past junction 10 is staffordshire, and past junction 4 is coventry and northamptonshire/leicestershire. is there any space for a major airport in the west midlands by the M6?
i am all for the idea though, beeing quite a frequent traveller from BHX i would love to see mroe airlines flying from birmingham, it is a shame though that BHX may only be for say 10-20 years more, if the propossed new airport takes shape. The runway has been a problem, and now that it has been confirmed that there is not much scope for expansion, i think a new airport would be the only alternative. Hopefully it would get a lot of the congestion from LHR as someone stated earlier.
Im not 100% sure about the space available near the M6- so please spare the the 3rd degree!

Saint Augustine- 'The world is a book and those who do not travel, read only 1 page'
User currently offline757man From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2001, 370 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (14 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 2478 times:

Ammunition - As a regular use of the M6 myself, between J8 and J11, you are right in saying that there is no space. Pehaps they will look at Stonebridge again? After all, it is quite close to the M6. Time will tell.

User currently offlineDavid_itl From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 7808 posts, RR: 13
Reply 7, posted (14 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 2433 times:
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Any news on the alleged Royal Jordanian flights? Still no sign, not even a one-liner on the BHX website saying "services to Amman will start shortly, details to follow!"


User currently offline757man From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2001, 370 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (14 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 2415 times:

David - Not a word I'm afraid. I've given up on it until something concrete is confirmed. Going away from topic a little bit, I can tell you that early indications for Feb PAX figures are looking very good. CO and EK have had around 86% load factors each during this month. Indeed, all CO flights have been totally full during the past week.

User currently offlineLekky-Man From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2002, 371 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (14 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 2381 times:

All this talk about it being 'too expensive' makes me wonder if if it would be 'too expensive' NOT to extend the runway - which is so badly needed.
BHX has lost many a long haul operator in the past due to lack of tarmac, and it's about time something was done to repair the damage as it were.
If the runway was extended (money no problem), one thought I've had is CVT could take all the smaller stuff like CRJ's, ERJ's, DHC-8's, up to A319's and 736's, while BHX could handle all the bigger stuff.
All it needs is someone with a vision, and of course, capital.
It's never going to happen though, such a shame, BHX is a cracking airport.


User currently offlineEGNM-LBA From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2002, 156 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (14 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 2367 times:

David - Not so sure I agree that the sentence on the North of England was strange. The whole ethos of the articles in the FT last Friday was not only about expanding runway space in areas where it is/will be needed, but about making better use of existing, but under-utilised facilities. I'm sure you'll agree that a good proportion of the passengers passing through MAN each year are originating from areas of the country with their own facilities. Therefore, if the argument I see on here day after day (that MAN should not loose out to London for long-haul services) is 'fair', then surely it is equally 'fair' that the likes of LPL, LBA and Finningley (if appoved) should not loose out to MAN for IT flights and short-haul scheduled.

As for Finningley, it should stand on its own two feet. Less than 5% of LBA's traffic currently originates in South Yorks and the North Midlands. Peel are looking to develop Finningley as a low-cost / charter airport along the lines of LPL and its target market is those passengers currently using MAN and EMA. Finningley will certainly make growth harder at LBA, but it should not reduce existing services to any significant degree. As for SZD, the operation is now owned by Peel and will probably be asset stripped and turned into a business park should Finningley get the nod!

User currently offlineDavid_itl From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 7808 posts, RR: 13
Reply 11, posted (14 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 2353 times:
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Given the success of the easyJet AMS run from LPL, with them now transporting more than BA and KLM combined from MAN, one can only imagine what a similar airline would do to LBA if they set-up shop at FYY.

Therefore, long-term prosperity for LBA is not assured, which makes me think that if we must have a low-cost/charter airport at FYY then MAN should be allowed to drop their charges by more than they have been able to, as it seems ludicrous that MAN has a new runway but is not allowed to exploit to the full as the CAA oversee charges to make sure they are acting in the public's interest i.e. keep prices artificially high, leading to some of MAN's marginal routes teetering on the brink of being profitable.

Presumably the CAA would have given some evidence at the 2nd Runway enquiry backing MAN's stated claims for 40 million passengers by 2015; however times have changed since then, with the influx of low-cost airlines using airports throughout the country, with the distinct possiblity that we could have all the planned movements at MAN but, with BA at forefront of reducing capacity, with small aircraft being used leading to some 25 million passengers a year. Hence, MAN has got to be released from being a designated airport!

In the meantime, we have EMA (even though MAN owns it) and LPL both offering discounted landing charges (and absolute rock bottom I presume for Ryanair) for the low-cost airlines. After all, it's meant to be a competitive world and we can then see if easyJet will then come to their preferred Northern hub when charges are more in line with what they may be paying at LPL.

It's true that a unhealthy number of passengers come from the wrong side of the Pennines (15 to 20% I think), but if the North is to have a centralised hub, MAN has the widest range of services for connections; the more popular short-haul routes (e.g. DUB, CDG, AMS) should be available from most airports, but thin routes (e.g. LYS, OSL, GOT) will always tend to be from MAN.


User currently offlineEGNM-LBA From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2002, 156 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (14 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 2330 times:

I’m afraid David, MAN cannot be all things to all men. Judging by many of your previous posts, you seem particularly enthused by long-haul services ex-MAN and are keen to see more of them. Nothing wrong with that, but you must realise that for them to succeed MAPLC need to maintain a sophisticated infrastructure and need to develop a feeder network.

Slashing landing fees to attract low-cost helps neither cause. Firstly, because MAN has already got coverage of all the typical low cost destinations, it will find it impossible to offer heavily reduced landing fees to Go, Easy or whoever without offering them to the incumbent carriers. If you were BA or bmi, how would you feel about Go being offered rock-bottom rates to compete with you on your Scottish routes. If you were in charge of Monarch’s ‘crown service’ operation, how would you feel about Easy being offered equally low rates to compete with you to Malaga?

Even if you do manage to address this issue, the increase in competition is likely to lead to a price war and would inevitably force out some of the incumbents. Is it really a wise move for MAN to jeopardise BA / bmi regional services from Scotland and Belfast for example, if it has ambitions of developing itself as a European / long-haul hub?

The whole thing is something of a moot point though. LPL is clearly carving a niche for itself as the low-cost base for the North West. Talk of Easy-jet or whoever saying that MAN is their ‘preferred’ choice ahead of LPL might make a few people feel better, but in reality it’s a good exercise in keeping Peel on their toes and ensuring that landing charges are kept low at LPL. What possible advantage would Easy get by moving operations up to MAN? Given that passengers chasing low-fares are more than prepared to travel an extra 15-30mins in order to secure a good deal, then the catchment areas of MAN / LPL are practically the same. A fact evidenced by the huge passengers volumes Easy are pushing through LPL; particularly to AMS and BFS. Would they carry many more from MAN? I doubt it. LPL offers a big catchment area and low handling fees - the ideal low cost combination.

MAN is a fine airport and provides a much-needed role in the North. However, it needs to stick at what it is good at and should avoid a knee-jerk reaction to developments in the low-cost sector. Yes, this will mean some further losses in short-haul low cost & bucket & spade traffic to LPL and to Leeds or Finningley (depending on which bags a low cost carrier first) but this is not a market MAN should be too precious about. Its strengths are in long-haul (charter & scheduled), domestic feeder flights, trunk European routes (FRA, CDG etc) and ‘thin’ European routes. The case for a second runway was not fought on the grounds of getting Easyjet to fly bucket loads of passengers to Spain, I suspect!

User currently offline757man From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2001, 370 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (14 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 2299 times:

It's good that small airports are getting looked at - Perhaps the government have finally woken up and realised that LHR is choking to death with congestion.

Airports such as MAN and BHX will benefit from extra flights sooner though, and this is because they already have very good terminal facilities in place, not to mention good transport links. Both airports have potential for more long haul routes, though BHX would be limited because of the runway issue. I could see another New York service (or Boston) from BHX. As for MAN - I think you'll see more expansion to Asian destinations.

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