BOURNEMOUTH Airport would lose two-fifths of its international flights if the controversial third runway is built at Heathrow, an MP has warned.
Expanding the UK’s leading air hub would have a “suffocating” effect on regional operations, Conservative Justine Greening told Prime Minister Theresa May before the House of Commons voted in support on Monday.
Bournemouth Airport currently employs about 120 members of staff at the site in Hurn, with flights to 22 overseas destinations in 12 countries, including Iceland, Italy and Turkey.
Any reduction in services at Bournemouth would be unlikely to affect the numbers of incoming visitors, commented Anthony Climpson, chief executive of Go New Forest which promotes tourism locally.
But he added: “The big problem would be domestic activity – for people living in the local area to be able to fly to Spain and back, for example.
“It will affect residents who use it to fly out more conveniently than having to go to Gatwick.”
Ms Greening, MP for Putney, highlighted the potential impact of expanding Heathrow by pointing to figures provided by the Department for Transport to the Commons transport committee.
Bournemouth would have 40% fewer international flights by 2030, she said, as a result of the government-backed plans which last week prompted the resignation of junior trade minister Greg Hands MP, whose constituency is near Heathrow.
International flights would fall by 15% in Birmingham, 11% in Manchester, and 14% in Newcastle, she said.
And she challenged the Prime Minister: “How do we help investment in our regions by suffocating the regional airports’ growth?”
The government says more 100,000 new jobs could be created, and Mrs May responded by claiming that when she visited Newquay in Cornwall after the government first announced its backing for the third runway, the idea was viewed positively.
She said: “People there were very pleased and welcomed the announcement, because of the ability it was going to give them to improve their local economy and expand their tourist industry, in particular.”
In December last year Bournemouth Airport was sold by Manchester Airport Group to become the fourth to be held by new parent company Regional & City Airports.
No one from the airport responded to the A&T’s request for comment.