15 January 2011

A new Government Regional Growth Fund (RGF) for economic development could contribute £15 million to fill the funding gap for Birmingham Airport’s runway extension. It is reported that Councils and business leaders in charge of the Birmingham-Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership want the RGF to meet almost half the £32 million cost of diverting the A45 Coventry Road to enable the 350-metre runway extension to be built.

Uncertainty about how the road diversion will be paid for is holding back the runway project, which is seen as a vital trigger for economic growth. Centro, the passenger transport authority, will give £10 million toward the A45 cost, with the airport contributing £7 million. Birmingham City Council has promised to find £15 million, but public spending cuts faced by local Government could put the pledge in doubt.

With the longer runway in place, Birmingham Airport will be able to compete with Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester by offering non-stop flights to cities in China and India and to the west coast of America for the first time.