Talking Business: Kehoe calls for better connectivity to boost economy

BIRMINGHAM Airport CEO Paul Kehoe has asked MPs to consider ways to remove the barriers preventing the full utilisation of existing airport capacity.

Giving oral evidence to MPs at the Transport Select Committee’s inquiry into aviation, Kehoe argued that international connectivity is vital for regions across the UK if we are to grow the national economy.

Paul Kehoe is one of those featured in a supplement from based on our Talking Business series of interviews, carried out in partnership with KPMG. Click here to download it.

Kehoe argued that, whatever the long-term solution, a number of barriers currently exist that are preventing airports from maximising the capacity that they have in the short-term.

These include the reluctance of airlines to operate long-haul direct services from UK airports other than Heathrow and  complex inter-governmental agreements which specify which foreign airlines can fly where.

After giving evidence Kehoe said: “The only thing that this country should be worrying about is how we are going to grow our economy – and we won’t do that by relying on one corner of the country to act as a crutch to prop up the economies outside of the South East.

“To boost growth, local businesses across the UK need international connectivity so that they can trade, and this will only be achieved it we make the most of the existing capacity we have at our airports.

“There are a number of barriers that stand in the way of making the most of our existing airport infrastructure, but where there is a will there is a way.

“I hope that the industry can continue to work together with Government to help remove these barriers, and start to build a progressive aviation sector that is at the heart of the UK’s economic recovery.”