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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 June, 2003, 13:01 GMT 14:01 UK
BA urges airport expansion
British Airways planes at Heathrow airport
BA opposes building new airports
British Airways (BA) has backed a second runway at Birmingham airport, an extra runway at Edinburgh or Glasgow and new passenger terminals at Manchester.

The airline responded on Tuesday to a government consultation on plans to expand air travel to meet increased demand in the next 30 years.

BA also backed the controversial option to build a third, shorter runway at Heathrow airport - a proposal bitterly opposed by campaigners.

The government's decision will be revealed in an aviation White Paper published at the end of the year.

BA expressed support for:

  • an additional runway in the Midlands at Birmingham airport - no case for a new airport in the Midlands

  • new terminals at Manchester airport -no case for additional runways at this stage

  • towards the end of the 30 years, likely to need an additional runway at either Edinburgh or Glasgow airports - no new airport in central Scotland

  • new short runway at Heathrow for between 30 and 60 take-offs and landings each day reserved for extra flights to more UK regional airports

BA said the third Heathrow runway could only be used by smaller aircraft on short-haul services and could not be displaced by long-haul flights which would operate from Heathrow's two longer runways.

Regional passengers would then be guaranteed access into the UK's international hub airport and destinations around the world, it concluded.

Marching protesters
Plans for an extra runway at Heathrow have stirred anger
BA's chief executive Rod Eddington said: "We support fully the sustainable development of airports in the British regions, in response to increasing passenger demand, and believe that any new runways should be built at existing airports rather than at new sites.

"Strong air links to London and the range of services provided by an international hub airport are vital for regional development in the UK."

BAA, which operates the UK's biggest airports, responded to the consultation last month.

It called for up to three new runways to be built in the south-east of England.

Earlier this month, more than 500 protesters marched against plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport, which they claim would destroy village communities.

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