Suffolk/Essex: Business leader hopes for more flight capacity at Stansted Airport
BUSINESS leaders and MPs agree that more flight capacity is needed in the south-east of England.
John Dugmore, chief executive of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, hoped more international flights could be attracted to Stansted.
He said: “There is no doubt that London Stansted is a key economic driver of the regional economy. It has a �240million a year turnover and is the biggest single-site employer in our region.
“With more than 350 of those staff based in Suffolk, our members tell us on a regular basis the importance of business backing the airport and its plans for the future.
“There is a real danger of Britain falling behind its international rivals when it comes to generating links to emerging markets.”
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But he stopped short of saying a second runway at the UK’s fourth biggest airport was the answer.
“Stansted has plenty of spare capacity and can grow from its current 17million passengers a year to 35m on its existing runway.
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“Airlines could relocate from Heathrow to Stansted tomorrow and save millions of pounds in the process.”
East Anglian regional director of the CBI Richard Tunnicliffe said: “As an organisation, the CBI is anxious that there should be an increase in airport capacity in the south-east.
“We feel there needs to be more runway capacity – but we do not want to say where that should go.”
Ipswich MP Ben Gummer said the south-east needed a hub airport with a similar capacity to those on the continent.
“For a hub you need to have at least four runways – and it is difficult to see how that could happen at Heathrow,” he said.
“The proposal for a third runway has caused the huge debate. It might be better to build a new airport on the other side of London and sell Heathrow or Gatwick for housing.”