Mark Pritchard backs Heathrow expansion and the new runway to ensure we can compete with other major European hub airports. He calls on the Government to continue to support Birmingham airport which has a major part to play in the UK.
Whether it is pre or post-Brexit, does the Secretary of State accept that, to be an open, liberal, market economy, we need an airport that can compete against the likes of Paris, Schiphol, Istanbul, Dubai and Doha? On the issue of the regions, does he accept that Birmingham airport also has a part to play over the skies of the UK?
Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I will respond to the last intervention, then take a couple more interventions and then make some progress: as you rightly say, lots of Members want to contribute.
I say in response to my hon. Friend the Member for The Wrekin (Mark Pritchard) that this is absolutely crucial to the UK as a whole. He is right that Birmingham airport is probably the most directly affected, although of course HS2’s arriving at Birmingham airport will create fantastic connections to that great airport from around the country.
Our forecasts show all regional airports growing, which is an indication that we need to provide the capacity at Heathrow. We can do so without damaging the prosperity of the regions. Indeed, it will enhance the prosperity of the regions, as their airports grow and their connections improve.