Business leaders from some of Southampton’s top companies have come together to support calls to strengthen regional connectivity and the vital role it plays in stimulating growth and prosperity for the city.
This follows a visit to the airport on Monday (January 27) by the Aviation Minister, Paul Maynard, accompanied by local Members of Parliament, Paul Holmes and Caroline Nokes, during which regional connectivity and the importance of Southampton Airport in delivering it was the main focus.
The visit by the Aviation Minister was part of the Department for Transport’s Regional Air Connectivity Review.
The review was launched last week as part of a series of measures to support regional connectivity across the UK, to ensure that people in all corners of the country benefit from prosperity and economic growth in years to come.
Neil Garwood, managing director of Southampton Airport, said: “Strengthening regional connectivity is absolutely crucial to enabling growth, developing business links and bringing prosperity to our region. We are pleased that the government is recognising this and urge our local authorities to recognise this, too.
“The city needs to make the right choices about investment, and smart, forward-looking decisions that will enable the region to grow and prosper in a balanced and sustainable way. As one of the UK’s most important regional airports, we know that we have a vital role to play in this.
“The support of leading local businesses shows that Southampton needs improved connectivity, it wants to reinforce its rightful place as a prosperous business hub on the national map and bring greater investment and skills into the city.
“And with the extension of our runway, the airport and the region will be able to harness the revolution in aviation that will bring cleaner, greener and quieter travel – benefiting regional airports to a far greater degree than the larger hub airports.
“We want the city to grow, develop and prosper, but there is an alternative future without the runway extension where we don’t see growth and the city becomes disconnected. This would likely lead to a decline in our regional economy which is not something anyone wants to see.
“Now is the time for us all to come together and support each other to secure the investment and growth needed to provide a prosperous future for this fantastic city. As we look ahead to our City of Culture bid, let’s ensure our city is well and truly open for business.”
Eastleigh MP, Paul Holmes, said: “Regional connectivity is a vital lever to future prosperity and boosting the economy in Eastleigh, Southampton and across the region. Southampton Airport has a vital role to play in that and I fully support it’s plans for responsible, sustainable growth.”
Gary Whittle, Commercial Director - Meachers Global Logistics, said: “As one of the UK’s leading independent providers of international freight and transport logistics services, the connectivity Southampton Airport provides is vital for us to continue to attract and service customers throughout Europe and beyond.
“The ability for us, and our customers, to fly directly from Southampton reduces the time, money and any emissions we expend travelling to and from London airports.
“Moreover, the additional routes that will be made possible through the expansion of the airport will play an important role in our own future growth and success, and the success of many other businesses in the Solent region.”
Rod Bransgrove, chairman of the Ageas Bowl, said: “The Ageas Bowl supports the principle of the runway extension for the significant positive economic impact it will have on the local area in terms of job creation, inward investment and greater connectivity and route choice for passengers from both the business and leisure sectors, provided that important environmental concerns can be appropriately addressed.”
Tom Dynes, Operations Director of Solent Stevedores, said: “As a local employer operating both nationally and internationally, good connectivity to the city is vital in facilitating our business.”
Gill Gould, founding partner of Carswell Gould, said: “Increased regional connectivity, through the excellence of Southampton Airport’s services and its planned new extended runway, is vital to our, and our region’s, growth. As our client base extends throughout the UK and Europe so does our need to travel with ease saving time and, importantly, stress.”
The full supporting statements can be seen here. In addition, the following local businesses have given their support for the airport, its value to the region and enabling growth:
Exxon Mobil Fawley
Associated British Ports, Carnival UK
The Ageas Bowl (RB Sport & Leisure Holdings)
DP World Southampton