View from the CEO: 'Don’t forget the role of regionals'
Following the Government’s announcement of support for a third runway at Heathrow, Bristol Airport’s Chief Executive, Robert Sinclair, champions the role of regional airports.
While the Government decision to back expansion at Heathrow reflects a desire to keep Britain moving and demonstrate the country is open for business in a post-Brexit era, it is worth noting that most passengers flying into and out of the UK use other airports. That is why the benefits of increased connectivity, inbound tourism and more jobs must be spread across the whole country, not just concentrated in London.
In particular, major regional airports, like Bristol, should not be overlooked following what has been a South East focused debate. The solution to capacity constraints in London has dominated the UK aviation agenda for decades, yet - even with Government support - a third runway at Heathrow remains many years away. Better use of existing capacity must be a priority in the meantime. For many passengers beyond the capital, there is another option in the shape of resurgent airports such as Bristol.
Simply funnelling passengers from all over the UK into Heathrow is not a comprehensive or sustainable transport strategy. More needs to be done to improve surface access to regional airports which can meet demand closer to where it arises, reducing journey times for travellers and encouraging public transport use in the process. This would really demonstrate the Government’s commitment to balanced aviation growth with real benefits beyond the South East.