Thanks for providing the link to the old a-net thread.
I spent a couple of hours at BHX
yesterday. I saw your story on the front page of a local newspaper. It set me wondering.
While I was at BHX
I saw an AI
772 depart and a PK
772 arrive. These together with an EK DXB
flight are, I believe, the only heavies still operating into BHX
. Although the EK
flight feeds into their DXB
hub with onward flights to Asia, Australasia and Southern Africa, I guess that all three of these operators are primarily meeting the needs of the large Indian and Pakistani ethnic populations in both the East and West Midlands, and their relatives living on the Indian sub-continent.
The only other non-British airliners I saw were an RJ100 of Lufthansa Regional/Eurowings, a 146 of the Irish airline CitiJet, an F-100 of KLM cityhopper, a CRJ100 of Air France/Brit Air and this Whoosh ATR42:
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Photo © John Gregory
Note that excepting the 777s none of these aircraft could be described as being any where near large. Neither are any of the resident British registered aircraft like the flybe EMB145s, 146s and DHC8s, the bmibaby 733s and 735s, the MyTravel 320s or the Thomsonfly and Thomas Cook 752s near the VLA category.
Apart from the AI
flights the other long haul flights including AA
's and BA
's to north America have come and gone. And in the late afternoon the aircraft I saw were not exactly queuing up to take off and land. So it occurred to me at the time that the decision to abandon the second runway was a sound one financially. And with the aircraft I saw I got to wondering what justification there was for the runway extension that will require the diversion of the A45 Birmingham to Coventry trunk road.
It is only a mile or so down this road to the M42. This intersects with the M40 not many miles away. And the M40 eventually intersects with the M25 which is a direct link to LHR
just 104 miles or around an hour and a half from BHX
. Indeed the natural BHX
catchment area seems to me to be restricted by the proximity of not only LHR
but also STN
to the south and to a lesser extent MAN
to the north.
This seems to me at least part of the explanation why so many BHX
long haul flights have come and gone. It is clearly more appropriate for the local population to drive to or from LHR
and travel as O&D passengers or take an AF
or, of course, EK
flight to these airlines hubs.
So although BHX
seems to have aspirations to become a large international airport, geography seems to work against it. Where else are there two such airports hardly more than 100 miles apart apart from at the world's major cities like London and New York? Can there be a financial justification for extending the runway? Or is the proposed extension just down to local pride?