Chamber Chief Urges Exploration of Additional Dundee Airport Route Opportunities


24th March 2015

Alison Henderson was commenting on the review of charges at the UK’s busiest airport to boost air links to Scotland.

Heathrow bosses claim Scottish firms are losing out to rivals near London because of limited air travel to and from Scotland.

The number of daily flights from Scotland to Heathrow has fallen sharply in the past decade partly because long-haul flights make most money.

The UK is set to expand its airport capacity to meet growing demand for air travel, meaning an extra runway will be built in the south east of England. The Airports Commission, headed by Sir Howard Davies, is due to issue its final recommendation to the UK Government in the summer — after the general election.

A new runway for Heathrow, a new runway for Gatwick or the extension of an existing runway at Heathrow are the three shortlisted options, and consultation will be held on changed airport charges to make routes to Scotland more attractive.

The commission say they would work to establish new flights from Heathrow to Scottish airports it does not serve to boost Scotland’s economy.

Dundee has flights to Stansted, which receive a heavy subsidy but are supported by only a small number of passengers.

Last week economist Tony Mackay called for Dundee Airport to be closed and for the money to be spent instead on other economic development schemes in the city.

His comments follow others including Edinburgh Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar who believed the money would be better spent on better rail links between Tayside and his airport.

Tim Allan, the president of the chamber of commerce but expressing a personal view, also entered the fray and backed Mr Dewar’s call.

The possibility of Dundee-Heathrow flights, a scenario opened up by the Heathrow review, introduces a new element to the issue, and was welcomed by the chamber chief executive.

“This is an exciting idea and is one that the business community in Dundee and the wider region would fully endorse and encourage,” said Ms Henderson.

“There has been feedback from the business community that the air link to Stansted is not ideal, so one to Heathrow with its better connections to central London and more onward flights would be better.”

VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay said: “This is potentially hugely significant for international travel to Scotland.

“New and more frequent air services to Scotland could have a profoundly positive impact on Scottish tourism.

“Following the announcement of the loss of Virgin’s Little Red services from Edinburgh and Aberdeen to Heathrow from September, we were extremely concerned about the consequences for international travellers connecting through Heathrow into Scottish airports.

“We have been working with all partners to resolve the situation. This shows that BAA Heathrow understands the importance of this to Scottish tourism.”

Article from The Courier Dundee 

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