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Airport ready to step into Heathrow's shoes.

The chief executive of Birmingham Airport said the terminal could act as an alternative to Heathrow's third runway.

Paul Kehoe said Conservative plans to scrap the Heathrow plan would help the city claw back passengers who leave the region to travel from the London terminal. Mr Kehoe made his comments after Teresa Villiers, shadow secretary of state for transport, said Birmingham would also be a greener option at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester yesterday. She said the high-speed rail link from London to Birmingham would enable the terminal to attract more passengers.

Mr Kehoe said: "Birmingham is ready to respond to any current or future government initiatives.

"We already attract passengers from the home-counties who choose the convenience, choice and accessibility of Birmingham over other alternatives. We have plenty of capacity and, linked to high-speed rail, we are uniquely positioned to not only claw back people from our own region, who make the long journey to Heathrow, but to attract passengers from the overheated South-east.

"We will not just be London's third runway as we have our own traffic but by attracting those who waver towards Heathrow to use Birmingham instead, will create jobs and help to rebuild the local economy.

"Positioned at the heart of the country we are perfectly placed for those visitors from abroad who want to experience all that the region, and further afield, has to offer."

Ms Villiers said: "There comes a point when stuffing more and more flights into the same overcrowded corner of the south of England starts to impose an unacceptably high cost to our environment and to our quality of life."
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 7, 2009
Words:271
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