Watch: Birmingham Airport reacts to new flight destinations to Middle East & cost of living crisis
Exciting times for holidaymakers and business travellers as Birmingham Airport welcomes Qatar Airways, Emirates & Saudi flights. Video Journalist Richard Gullick gets the lowdown from travel bosses
and live on Freeview channel 276
Three new flight paths have been announced at Birmingham Airport beginning early July. More options for travellers can only represent a boom in the industry. I speak to Simon Evans, spokesperson for the Airport, to find out a bit more about these new options from Qatar Airways, Emirates and Saudia for holidaymakers and business commuters at the airport.
Simon Evans, Head of Corporate Affairs for Birmingham Airport says: “So we are looking forward to the first week of July, because in that week we’re going to see three really big and positive developments. On Saturday 1st July, Emirates who fly twice a day from here to Dubai are bringing back their iconic super jumbo - the A380 double decker.
“Great piece of news. We haven’t seen the A380 here since before the pandemic. So that’s really positive and it will go down not only well with customers but also with plane spotters because it’s a real crowd favourite. And then the next day, July 2nd which is a Sunday, we are seeing SAUDIA which is the national carrier from Saudi Arabia, starting their operations here and they’ll be flying three times a week to Jeddah.
“Then the third piece of good news that week will be on Thursday 6th July, we’re seeing Qatar Airways return to Birmingham Airport with daily flights to Doha.”
The new connected airports will act as hubs facilitating access to numerous remote destinations for travellers. So does this increase in flight paths represent a boom for Birmingham Airport and the industry as a whole - which faced considerable challenges as a result of the pandemic?
Has the cost of living crisis affected the number of passengers travelling from Birmingham Airport?
Evans says: “So we have customer volumes, sort of up to around somewhere around 90% of pre-COVID volumes. We expect this year that we will come level with 2019 which of course is pre-COVID, and possibly even exceed those volumes. Even in the midst of this cost of living crisis. We are seeing very strong revenues in our terminal.
“People, and I think a lot of the sort of consumer sentiment research backs this up, are willing to forego other luxuries in their lives. But actually one of the things they really value and are willing to make financial provisions for is foreign travel - going away to Turkey, Tenerife, or wherever it may be.”
What is the latest advice on flight delays from Birmingham Airport?
In recent years, Birmingham Airport has encountered several difficulties related to flight delays - so what should passengers this summer consider ahead of their flights?
Evans says: “We are building a new state-of-the art security facility, and when it’s finished in June 2024 that will mean that customers no longer have to remove liquids and laptops from their bags when they go through the X-ray scanners at the preflight security area. However, until that happens, existing rules still apply.
“So what we would tell people at the moment is just remind them that if you’re flying out of Birmingham Airport, please arrive at least two hours before your flight so you can get all the necessary bits and pieces done and have an easy flow through our airport.”