JERRY Blackett, chief executive of the Birmingham Chamber Group, gave oral evidence to MPs at the Transport Select Committee’s inquiry into aviation on Monday where he explained that the lack of aviation connectivity is costing the region jobs and growth.
Appearing with other representatives of UK businesses, Mr Blackett argued that:
• The demand is there from businesses in the Midlands for direct services to high-growth markets.
• Rather than listening to the needs of businesses and passengers, aviation policy is currently dictated by the airlines.
• Businesses in the Midlands are not being given the opportunity to compete in the global marketplace and it is costing the country jobs and growth.
He added: “I hear from businesses every day who tell me that they want direct, long-haul services from Birmingham Airport so that they can better compete in the global marketplace. The demand for new routes is there, but airlines are currently dictating our national aviation policy.
“The lack of direct aviation connectivity is costing the country growth and jobs and this has to change. The Government must listen to the needs of businesses and passengers and do whatever it takes to put the economy first. My message is clear – Birmingham and the wider Midlands region are ready to trade with the world and we need airlines to start connecting us to it.”
• The Birmingham Chamber of Commerce’s written response to the Transport Select Committee’s inquiry into aviation can be read online at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmtran/writev/aviation/m57.htm.