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Aston Science Park, Birmingham, United Kingdom, 2007/02/01 - Regional development agency Advantage West Midlands has given its backing to plans to expand the runway at Birmingham International Airport and agreed to provide £25 million towards infrastructure improvements if a successful application is received.
The Advantage West Midlands support and funding is based on the economic and business impact of extending the runway and enabling long-haul flights, effectively connecting the region to markets such as China, India and the west coast of the United States.
However, the Board has made clear that the funding depends on receiving an application that is based on balanced and sustainable development.
It is intended that the investment will play a major part in driving economic prosperity in the ‘M42 Corridor’ which includes the airport, the NEC and other major investment sites such as Birmingham Business Park and Blythe Valley Business Park.
Currently, the corridor supports 54,000 jobs and contributes £2.1 billion of output to the regional economy.
The investment into the runway is forecast to increase this to 125,000 jobs and £11 billion of output.
John Edwards, Advantage West Midlands Chief Executive, said: “This week, the Board of Advantage West Midlands endorsed the proposals for the next phase of expansion at Birmingham International Airport.
“As well as reaffirming our commitment to the runway expansion, the Advantage West Midlands Board agreed to commit up to £25 million investment to support the project, if – and only if – the right application is submitted by the Airport Company.
“We cannot overstate the importance in today’s global economy of the need for effective and efficient means of international travel to connect the West Midlands to global markets. It is something that we can all agree on.
“The fact that it is not possible to take direct long-haul flights to the growing economies of China and India from Birmingham International Airport is a major barrier to economic growth in the West Midlands.
“We cannot afford to miss out on the opportunities that emerging markets offer us building on the strong cultural and economic links we already have.
“While it will come as no surprise to anybody that Advantage West Midlands is supporting economic development, it is absolutely essential that prosperity does not come at the expense of sustainability and the environment.
“Advantage West Midlands places great importance on development that is sustainable and we are investing millions in projects which will build on the West Midlands’ strong position in developing the new technologies that contribute to sustainable development.
“We support the expansion of the runway as part of a balanced series of measures which will address transport and environmental issues.
“These will all be tackled by the Airport Company as part of their application for planning consent and the investment proposals.
“We see this as a major opportunity to make a real positive change to the economic fortunes of our region in a sustainable manner.”