In the run up to a busy time for the airport over the summer, I visited Birmingham International and had a meeting with the senior management to discuss developments there and their plans for the future. We also, of course, discussed issues of wider airport expansion in the UK after the decision earlier this summer to favour expansion at Heathrow Airport over the other options available.
As the Royal Town’s Member of Parliament I have three I have three key areas of interest in respect of Birmingham Airport.
The first is that it serves my constituents’ needs when they choose to fly to and from it, whether for business or for leisure. The second is that it provides employment and training opportunities for my constituents, and that I am fully aware of the opportunities available to them so that I can encourage those seeking jobs in the right direction for information and opportunities. The third is that the impact of the airport is as limited as possible on Sutton in terms of the local environment, specifically noise problems. This is an issue that I come across very occasionally, and am in constant regular with the airport to make sure that any plans that they have will not result in a negative impact on Sutton Coldfield.
On this particular point I was very glad to be reassured during my recent visit by the CEO, Paul Kehoe. While I believe that Heathrow is unquestionably the right expansion option for the UK, I also feel it is important that we invest in Birmingham and other airports to create a strong network of national airports – something that I know Birmingham wishes to see. Any discussion of expansion always raises red flags for me, for the reasons I have suggested above, but I was pleased to see the plans that have been put in place to protect the local area from any impact of noise pollution. In particular, here is a chart which demonstrates very clearly the way that planes taking off from Birmingham break away from Sutton airspace as they take off, and that they also avoid it as they come in to land. Our meeting also revealed that there are penalties in place for any airline that does not stick to their marked route, further discouraging pilots from flying over Sutton Coldfield!