LONDON, August 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Western Gateway's proposal for the expansion of Cardiff Airport has been chosen as the preferred measure to increase the UK's airport capacity in a poll that received almost 430 votes
Western Gateway's proposal received more than half of all of the 429 votes placed over a two-week period.
11 of the 29 proposals submitted to the Airports Commission for long-term solutions to UK airport capacity were included in the poll, hosted by GlobalAirportCities.com. The poll launched with ten proposals, before being approached by independent group Fly Cardiff to add the Western Gateway proposal to the list.
Elevator pitches were written for each of the proposals along with a link to the full documentation. Despite being added 24 hours after its launch, Western Gateway's proposal soon soared ahead, securing 54 per cent of the votes upon closure. It was followed by Birmingham Airport's proposal, which secured 12 per cent of the vote, then Foster + Partners' Isle of Grain solution with 9 per cent.
Western Gateway, a group formed of transport experts and entrepreneurs specifically to propel the Cardiff solution, proposes the addition of a third UK high-speed rail connection to Cardiff Airport, turning the airport into Heathrow's Atlantic terminal. Two high-speed rail connections are currently set for delivery in the UK. A third, says Western Gateway, could facilitate a network of airports supporting the South of the UK, easing the pressure off Heathrow and providing faster connectivity throughout the country. An extended runway would facilitate larger aircraft, and improved terminal and infrastructure facilities would allow Cardiff to significantly increase its capacity for up to 20 million passengers per year by 2040.
Calling for the Cardiff solution to be added to the poll, Fly Cardiff protested at what they see as a bias towards London-centric airport capacity solutions. "Why no mention of the Cardiff proposal?" they asked. "With HS2 (the second high speed railway connection) Cardiff would be highly ranked as a hub airport and offer a wide range of services for passengers in the South West. It's not all about London," they said.
Responding to the results, Kelvin Hayes, Lawrence Evans and John Dellarmi, the three independent founders of Fly Cardiff, told GlobalAirportCities.com:
"There has been much hype in the media that Cardiff Airport could become Heathrow Terminal 6, but for Welsh passengers it is not so much of a proposal as an essential requirement. Welsh passengers want routes back (that were once available and were only lost because of airline collapse and not as a consequence of lack of passengers) across the Atlantic, to the UAE and beyond, and with the recent landing of the A380 - the world's largest aircraft, at Cardiff Airport, many passengers are asking how long it can be before there is greater access to international travel from Cardiff Airport."
The authors of other proposals included in the poll remained stoic upon receiving the results. A Heathrow spokesperson said:
"After half a century of vigorous debate but little action, it is clear the UK needs a single hub airport that can provide the links to emerging economies which will boost jobs, GDP and trade. The best solution for taxpayers, passengers and business is to build on the strength we already have at Heathrow. Our proposals show that vision can be achieved whilst keeping the impact on local residents to an absolute minimum."
John Morris, Birmingham Airport's public affairs director, said:
"Birmingham Airport's long-term vision meets the needs of both passengers and the economy. With HS2, the airport is just over half an hour from central London, helping ease congestion in the South East whilst better serving people and businesses in the Midlands. A one-airport solution is not a national aviation strategy. Instead, we need a network of great long-haul airports across the UK."
The #airpitch elevator pitches and poll results can be viewed here:
Fly Cardiff's full response can be found here:
Notes to Editors
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