Airport MIPIM
Pete Squires

Member Article

Major Midlands economic event

An event highlighting the economic lift-off that the extension to Birmingham Airport’s runway will bring to the region has been given major billing at an international conference.

The runway at the airport is currently being extended by 400 metres to open up opportunities for more long haul direct destinations when it is completed early next year.

That could bring a boost of around four per cent to the West Midlands economy, partly through inward investment into the region as well as improving export potential.

How the region can maximise that benefit is the subject of ‘The Birmingham Airport: Landing Investment For The Region’ – a debate at MIPIM, the world’s largest commercial property show.

The event will feature contributions from Will Heynes (development director of Birmingham Airport), Martin Reeves (chief executive of Coventry City Council), Ian Taylor (Marketing Birmingham) and Jonathan Garrett (director of CSR and sustainability at Jaguar Land Rover).

The runway extension is part of a £33 million investment plan which has also seen a new air traffic control tower.

Heynes said: “International connectivity plays a vital role in facilitating employment and the economic success of a region. With major growth plans on the horizon for the region, never has it been more vital for business to be able to connect with key overseas markets.

“The runway extension will allow aircraft to fly an additional 2,000 nautical miles so that they can reach high value markets in China and the US. Once complete early next year, we will enable the Midlands region to connect with the world, help to attract new overseas investment opportunities and allow people to fly directly into the city that they’re doing business with.”

Reeves said the runway extension must be viewed as a regional asset to reach its full potential.

“There is no question that the airport is already a catalyst for inward investment and that will only grow as the extended runway comes into being and the air travel picture in the South East continues to be a matter of debate and delay,” he said.

“But it cannot be billed as a Field of Dreams “build it and they will come”, the region has to go out and promote its assets and potential to a wider audience.

“It is one thing for the airport to attract airlines with new routes – which in itself have a very positive economic impact – but that is only a small part of the story. It is up to the region to grab this opportunity and really make the most of it.

“We know that we have a great deal to offer inward investors and this will open up opportunities for the wider region.

“Being able to discuss those opportunities at an event which draws in major investors from across the world could not be better.”

Taylor, Commercial Director at Marketing Birmingham, said: “Opening up more direct routes across the globe provides Birmingham with a greater opportunity to grow its local economy – from securing investment, to attracting more tourists.

“The city’s visitor economy alone is now worth nearly £5 billion, having attracted a record high of 33.5 million people in 2011, and inward investment into the city has also increased.

“For this to continue, showcasing the airport’s expansion to potential investors at MIPIM could have a significant impact on the city’s economic future.”

Picture - Left to Right: Will Heynes (Birmingham Airport), Les Ratcliffe (Jaguar Land Rover), David Cockroft (Coventry City Council).

*The Coventry and Warwickshire MIPIM partnership is made up of 15 partners and six associate partners who fund the presence at the show, ensuring there is no direct cost to the public purse.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Pete Squires .

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