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Friday, 5 July, 2002, 19:12 GMT 20:12 UK
Second runway plan for Birmingham
Birmingham International Airport
Larger planes could use a second strip at Birmingham
A second airstrip could be built at Birmingham to help the UK cope with flourishing demand for flights.

A government study looking at how airports could grow to match passenger expansion is set to put forward the plans, the BBC has learned.

People living around Birmingham airport have said they would strongly oppose any plans for a second landing strip.

But passengers have welcomed any further improvement in the facilities at Birmingham - which already handles 800,000 passengers a month.

Doubling disturbance

The number of passengers using UK airports is set to double over the next 20 years to more than 400 million a year - and Whitehall is trying to come up with proposals to handle the demand.

Jim French, managing director of the airline British European, which operates out of Birmingham, said: "There is plenty of room for expansion in the short-term.

"What we really are discussing is what will happen 10 years hence.

"I'm concerned that if we don't agree this expansion plan now we will be sitting here in 10 years time saying what went wrong."

But Ron Dowdeswell, of the Birmingham Airport anti-noise group, said: "A second runway presumably means twice the aircraft and twice the noise, pollution and sleep deprivation."

Passengers' praise

Travellers at the airport thought any expansion would be a good idea.

"I think it would be great to have a second runway, we might come down and use it more often," said one.

"It's a great idea. Birmingham has a superb airport. I mean London has got everything else," said another.

The plans are due to be published within the next three weeks.


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See also:

02 May 02 | England
14 Mar 02 | England
23 Jan 02 | England
13 Dec 01 | England
13 Oct 01 | Business
04 Oct 01 | UK
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