Birmingham rues funding shortfall

Birmingham Airport cannot afford to expand and resurface its runway, according to resident executive Paul Kehoe.

Despite the continued support of local councillors, the airport has been unable to raise the £120m required for the expansion. The Solihull site is struggling to offset the effects of the recent recession.

Whilst bank loans are available, officials fear abominable interest rates, which could throw the airport’s long-term future into jeopardy. Mr. Kehoe does not believe that the £400m extension is worth the risk.

November has not been kind to airports in the Midlands. Yesterday, East Midlands Airport conflicted with local infrastructure, finding the A453 insufficient to support continued growth at the site.

A £25m rehash of the A45, a road that travels east of Birmingham, is also under review, as government funding begins to look unlikely. The European Council could be persuaded to step up to the plate.

With money so scarce, Paul Kehoe fears that Birmingham’s runway expansion is not necessary, stating “we haven’t got the money" and that "airlines are going south rather than north.”

Visitors to the Birmingham Post website have added their two cents to the runway saga, with many believing that larger planes and new routes would be a cost-effective way of improving airport connections.

A high-speed rail link between Heathrow and Birmingham could help both airports solve their troubles, easing congestion at the former and filling Birmingham’s planes with passengers, thereby justifying all the money spent on the International Pier.

If all goes to plan, the runway expansion should be completed by 2012, but any delay in funding could set the planning process back seven years. Experts predict that 16,000 jobs will be created by the project.

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