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Flybe statement on government consultation over proposed New Thames Estuary Airport

18 January 2012

Flybe’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Jim French comments:

“Flybe supports any infrastructure investment that improves connectivity for the British travelling public and will respond to the proposed formal consultation in detail.

As Europe's largest regional airline, specialising in serving the needs of regional communities, Flybe supports completely the government’s commitment to re-balancing the economy away from the South East. Flybe believes strongly that any new airport must be a national resource, guaranteeing access for all UK regions to an international hub, thereby maximising the economic potential of the whole of the UK (currently only 7 of the 26 UK airports have connectivity to Heathrow).

The rest of Europe understands the critical need for a major international hub airport which is vital to the long term economic development of their country. And given the enormous long term potential for tourism from the new emerging economies around the world, the UK must ensure it has the long term capability to serve this demand. Tourism is one of our major industries which benefits the whole UK economy.

Whatever the solution is to providing additional runway capacity in the South East of England, it must not add to the already congested skies over London. Therefore we believe that it is entirely appropriate for the Government to look at all alternative scenarios including a new location for a National Intercontinental Hub Airport which meets the long term needs of the UK.

The alternative of building a new national airport in another part of the country,   away from the South East, is simply not feasible: just look at the location of every major hub around the world, it is situated adjacent to the major population centre and, in the UK, this is London.

It is also important that we acknowledge that every major hub in Europe has a minimum of four runways and anything less than this is a compromise on our long term potential.

So, given the scarce land resource combined with the dense populations in the South East, it seems entirely appropriate that we consider extending our land space through developing an airport in the Thames Estuary.”