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Leeds/Bradford Airport New Terminal - Accentuating The Positive
Terminal landside.jpg

The Leeds Bradford Airport Support Group has issued this open letter regarding the above captioned subject. Views shared by many others, including those 1300 or so who lodged letters of support with the council, the 1600 who signed the LBA Support Group petition and the 75% of readers in the recent Wharfedale Observer poll who voted in favour (over 500 readers voted). These are significant figures.

This is actually a very complex issue. The Chief Planning Officers Report is a clear, concise and thoroughly researched document which contains all the necessary detail and is worth reading. It makes clear amongst other things that the airport will meet and in many areas exceed government environmental criteria.

The airport received planning permission for a terminal building extension two years ago. This was intended to take passenger throughput from the current 4m to 7m passengers. The airport subsequently decided that in order to provide passengers with an acceptable airport experience and attract flagship (e.g. Middle Eastern) carriers, a completely new terminal needed to be built. This is the building that was passed in the planning panel meeting on the 11th of February. The application also included changes to the defined daytime operating hours during which unlimited flying is permitted'

It will be seen then the airport has the ability/right to increase to 7m passengers with or without the new terminal and revised flying hours. The drawback of course would be that the airport would be less attractive to passengers and would be unlikely to attract new airlines, which in itself would probably restrict growth to somewhat less than 7m, although significantly more than the current 4m.

As part of its application the airport asked to be given a level playing field compared to other airport in terms of hours of daytime operations. These would be extended to 06:00 to 23:30, rather than the current 07:00 to 23:00. During this period there are no restrictions on the number of flights. Outside of these hours flights can still operate but subject to a quota system. The planning officers report indicates that 7m passengers annually will result in 17 flights between 06:00 and 07:00 compared for 5 currently and 2 between 23:00 and 23:30, compared to 1 currently.

The injection of £150M into the local economy would be transformational. It will not only secure the jobs of thousands of people already reliant on the airport for their employment, but also create work for thousands more. It will also make Leeds a more attractive place for business and support inward tourism in the region as a whole, but particularly in our National Parks, the coast and York. It will also facilitate travel to the trade shows and conferences held in Harrogate and other major cities. Needless to say the number of destinations for leisure and in a more limited sense business travellers would increase, obviating the need to travel to other airports.

Government and other officially commissioned reports indicate that aviation will continue to grow. It is clear that if Leeds/Bradford doesn’t get its new terminal building then competitor airports, principally Manchester (Doncaster and Durham Tees Valley are also biting at Leeds’ heels) will ‘take up the slack’ and generate income and jobs at that airport- all at the expense of Leeds and Yorkshire as a whole. It cant be ignored of course that in ‘losing out’ to other airports the perceived (albeit diminishing as aircraft become quieter and less polluting) issues with noise and air quality will simply be felt elsewhere, so overall there is no environmental benefit. One also has to consider the new terminal will be the most environmentally friendly in the country and the associated carbon off-setting measures, so you could argue that flights to Leeds will be more sustainable than other airports!

The Support Group was pleased the Planning Panel voted to pass the planning application, however it was only passed subject to discussion on certain conditions the panel wanted to be applied. We understand that the airport have submitted their response to the conditions and we are hopeful that agreement will be reached. How many times have we seen investment in the North headlines only to find the North actually means the North West, this is one occasion when Leeds City Council have the power to ensure that investment comes to where its most needed. Lets hope the ‘conditions’ aren’t a deal breaker.

The LBA Support Group believes now is the time for the media to start emphasising the benefits the airport will bring to the region rather than focussing on the exaggerated and incorrect claims of anti airport campaigners and the negativity they try to generate. The benefits for the region on the other-hand will be in way of a huge jobs bonanza starting with a major 2 year construction project, which surely must be a deciding factor (if nothing else is) at this time of uncertainty and rapidly increasing unemployment. Leeds, Bradford and the whole of the region need some good news so please help to spread it. Its time to accentuate the positive!

Leeds Bradford Airport Support Group

Find us online at: www.forums4airports.com
Find us on twitter: www.twitter.com/Supportlba
Find us on Facebook: https://www.Facebook.com/LBASupportGroup/

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