HS2 allows us to adopt a distributed aviation model

Birmingham Chamber of Commerce chief executive Jerry Blackett backs HS2

Birmingham Chamber of Commerce chief executive Jerry Blackett backs HS2

HS2 and aviation

HS2 and aviation are inextricably linked.  HS2 should alleviate the need for many domestic air routes and will allow many UK airports to expand their catchment area and compete with each other, driving down prices and improving customer service.

The recent news that Virgin Atlantic will begin operating a Manchester to Heathrow service three times a day highlights is indicative of a problem that currently blights the UK. Most recently, Heathrow slots have been given over to new domestic services (to Leeds and Manchester) – rather than new business-generating links to China and the Far East.

Currently the UK’s aviation activity is largely confined to Heathrow.  78 per cent of the UK’s direct flights to the world (excluding Europe) are operated from Heathrow and Gatwick. This is good news for the South East but is unsustainable for the UK as it means that investment and jobs tend to accrete in the South East. Currently many passengers fly to Heathrow to connect to flights to India and China, clogging up valuable landing slots at Heathrow. It also siphons jobs and economic activity out of the regions.

HS2 allows access to Birmingham Airport for many

We hear that Heathrow is at capacity.  This is unsurprising given that 650,000 people fly between Manchester and Heathrow alone each year.  In June 2011, 433 flights left Heathrow per week bound for domestic destinations.  In this same period 479 flights left Heathrow for South Asia, South East Asia, North East Asia and Central Asia, South America, Central America and the Caribbean. A thousand flights a week link Heathrow with other European hubs, rather than serving new markets, direct.

Currently many commentators are urging the Government to adopt a distributed aviation model, using existing capacity at other airports and releasing capacity at Heathrow.  HS2 will allow people in large parts of London and the South to access Birmingham Airport as quickly as they can Heathrow. Other Airports can be linked to HS2, providing customer choice and national resilience that simply doesn’t exist now.

HS2 will help our airports better use their existing capacity to link UK Plc with valuable overseas markets.

Jerry Blackett, chief executive Birmingham Chamber of Commerce

This entry was posted in Environment, West Midlands and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to HS2 allows us to adopt a distributed aviation model

  1. my thoughts on HS2 . Anybody who thinks that spending over £30 billion on a train line that saves 10 minutes on a journey that only those with corporate accounts will be able to afford screams of lunacy in the highest degree .
    Derek McCarthy

    • gohs2 says:

      It’s a great deal more than ten minutes! HS2 saves around 35 minutes on current Birmingham-London journeys, 63 minutes on Birmingham-Leeds and forty minutes on Birmingham-Manchester. It also frees up capacity on increasingly congested existing lines for freight and passenger services, so it has benefits for communities up and down the country.

      • I can’t see the times you quoted being realistic but no doubt time will tell .
        As regards freeing up capacity you are assuming that everyday working people who have to find their own fare will be able to afford to use HS2 .
        And finally the devastation this line will leave in it’s wake as it plough’s through business and industrial estates in Birmingham and the West Midlands forcing small business’s to relocate or cease trading (moving can at times lead to the other) you can see why i am against it .

      • gohs2 says:

        When we say released capacity we mean space opened up on existing lines by HS2. This would mean more services from Wolverhampton, Walsall etc on existing lines. This would benefit passengers and freight. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Chris Neville-Smith says:

    There’s no need for time to tell. Paris – Metz, at 175 miles, takes 1h27m. London – Manchester, at a distance of 166 miles, is 2h07m. That’s a hell of a lot more than 10 minutes at stake. Not that this matters too much, because, as has been repeatedly pointed out, the issue is capacity. Journey times is just a bonus.

    The notion that HS2 will unaffordable for “everyday working people” has been trotted out many times but so far I’ve heard zero argument to back this claim up. Since no-one will substantiate this claim, I can only speculate where this notion came from. I’m guessing it’s come from people who’ve looked at long-distance train fares for the Anytime tickets and seem how high they are, and assumed that’s how much it costs to travel by train. (I assume it’s people who never use the train who jump to this conclusion, because no rail passenger with a scrap of common sense would travel from Birmingham – London on an Anytime ticket unless they absolutely had to, which for non-business travellers is extremely rare.) The logical progression seems to be that HS2 services will cost even more. This is in spite of the current business plan assuming fares will be ABOUT THE SAME – but, hey, maybe they don’t really mean it.

    The thing is, there is no evidence to back up this idea. I’ve compared rail fare for Paris-Lyon with London-Newcastle, both about the same distance, both two weeks in advance, and the fares are about the same. If you don’t accept foreign comparisons as valid, you can compare fares on the HS1 and non-HS1 services from Kent – London. HS1 services are, at most, £5 more for a return, which is easily affordable. But even this is a red herring. Let’s suppose HS2 fares are priced out of reach of most people. Solution? Carry on using the WCML, which will have less crowded services because of those people taking off the WCML and on to HS2 instead. Everybody wins.

    As for the “devastation” – well, I’ve travelled on HS1 several times now, and I can’t see anywhere along the line that looks particularly devastated, or even slightly blighted, so I don’t know where this idea came from. Certainly far more land has been tarmacked and far more noise is produced by the M40 and A41, but if StopHS2 et al don’t have problems with either of those, why the big deal over one double-track line?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s