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A taxing solution to Heathrow overcrowding

A taxing solution to Heathrow overcrowding

🕔01.Nov 2012
English: Uploaded from Flickr courtesy of User...

Birmingham Airport has put forward a novel proposal to the Government – impose extra taxes on Heathrow and Gatwick so that more airlines are forced to use us.

In a response to consultation on the draft aviation policy framework, airport chief executive Paul Kehoe argues that fiscal measures should be used as a short term method of relieving pressure on overcrowded London airports and delivering an economic boost to the West Midlands.

As well as charging operators more to use Heathrow and Gatwick, the Government should also give tax breaks to airports like Birmingham which have spare capacity, Mr Kehoe argues.

He also says that while the Midlands has a “competitive advantage” in the UK economy for manufacturing exports, businesses in the catchment area consider the lack of long-haul connectivity from the region to be restricting their growth.

The inability to catch direct long-haul flights from Birmingham should be solved when the airport’s runway extension opens in 2014, assuming that operators choose to use the West Midlands as a base for flights to China, India and the west coast of America.

Birmingham Airport wants the Government to create and market a network of ‘national’ airports in the English regions as an alternative to London.

Mr Kehoe also calls for Birmingham International railway station to be re-named Birmingham Airport. The move would underline the fact that Birmingham Airport has a railway station, which could soon be linked to the HS2 high speed rail network.

Mr Kehoe said his recommendations were “proportionate to the current level of supply-side intervention in the market and would incentivise airlines to establish new routes from UK airports instead of moving to foreign hubs”.

He added: “This submission is taking the Government for its word. If it is serious about making the best use of existing capacity at UK airports, it needs to balance capacity restrictions on airports in the South East with policies that encourage airlines to use other UK airports.

“This will help rebalance the economy away from a dependence on financial services and the South-east as the sole engines of growth.

“Business leaders in the Midlands are calling out for greater long-haul connectivity from Birmingham Airport. They know that the economic fruit of aviation doesn’t fall far from the tree. It is time for the Government to branch out and pursue policies that unlock the potential of UK manufacturing.”

 

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