Another week sees another airport expansion causing headlines. With Heathrow, Stansted and Aberdeen all attracting controversy in the past few months, now it is the turn of Bristol Airport to face the wrath of the protestors.
The group in question is SBAE (Stop Bristol Airport Expansion), and it has recently picked up on a report by the Aviation Environment Federation entitled “Airport Jobs: False Hopes, Cruel Hoax”. In it, the claim is made that increasing airport sizes in the south west would only lead to more people choosing to travel and spend their money abroad. As a result, the area would actually lose jobs rather than gain them.
The report made reference to the tourism deficit of over £1 billion in the south west in 2005. This is the amount of money spent abroad by people flying from Bristol Airport, compared to the amount spent in the area by people flying in. The group stated that by 2030, this deficit would rise and lead to the loss of 64,000 jobs in the area.
Despite being described as “laughable” by Jamie Christon, the deputy managing director at Exeter International Airport, who said that skilled jobs and tourism would both benefit from expansions to airports in the region, the report has been taken up by the campaign group.
The proposals that the group is fighting against include the doubling of the terminal size, the increase in the number of aircraft stands by nine, extra walkways to the planes and a new hotel and car park.
In total, the cost of the plans comes to £150 million, and it is hoped that by 2016 passenger numbers will have risen from 6 million to 11 million a year with an extra 4,000 jobs created.