Birmingham airport’s boss last week unveiled plans to relocate its terminal buildings to strengthen connections with the planned High Speed 2 (HS2) rail network.
Speaking at NCE’s Airport Design and Engineering conference in London, operator Birmingham Airport’s chief executive Paul Kehoe said he wanted to embark on a consultation about moving the passenger terminals, though not the runway, closer to the Birmingham International station.
“This could result in moving the airport 1km eastwards,” Kehoe told delegates. “It may sound daft but it has to happen.”
He explained that the runway and airside operations would remain where they are today while airport passenger handling operations - such as check-in, baggage handling and security - would move.
This would have the benefit of freeing up space so more passengers and flights could be handled said Kehoe.
Current plans for High Speed 2 (HS2), confirmed by transport secretary Justine Greening in January, involve building a new Birmingham Interchange station that would connect HS2 passengers to the airport and the National Exhibition Centre via a people mover (NCE 26 January).
These plans reveal that scheme promoter High Speed Two Ltd (HS2 Ltd) considered moving the new station closer to the airport but ruled it out because of the “very significant knock-on effects” it would have to the local community.
Kehoe subsequently told NCE that proposals to move the terminal closer to the station would be less contentious although environmental impact assessments would be carried out for the new station and new terminus, he said.
“This is an opportunity we want to exploit,” added Kehoe. “We’re keen to talk to consultants about how we would plan the move.”
The airport’s existing facilities have recently undergone a major upgrade, including construction of a new £45M pier to handle international traffic that was completed in 2009 (NCE 10 September 2009).
Plans could also include creating an enterprise zone around the airport and station said Kehoe. Any development around the new station would be led by Solihull Council, not HS2 Ltd, according to an HS2 Ltd spokesman.
The operator has also begun a £33M runway extension project - due for completion in 2014. This, with the new pier will allow it to handle larger aircraft .