Cheap flights to the USA, the Caribbean and Europe could be under threat for regional travellers, a director of Manchester Airport warned today.
Manchester Airports Group external affairs director Jonathan Bailey said that the rising costs being imposed on small regional hubs were placing them under increased pressure at a difficult economic time, making the threat of closure a real possibility. Having himself taken one of the regional flights to Abu Dhabi to address the Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) conference, Mr Bailey revealed that “we are reviewing the airports we own currently.”
“All the tax, regulatory and security costs bear heavily on smaller airports. We pay three times for security – for passenger screening, our own security staff and policing costs – and small airports cannot do that.”
Mr Bailey went on to warn that “we might have to close some of our smaller airports” such as Bournemouth and Humberside. However, he indicated that larger hubs like East Midlands and the major passenger and cargo gateway of Manchester will likely be safe.
Any action of this sort would be a blow for holidaymakers in the regions seeking cheap flights to Europe and beyond.
However, the prognosis may not be as gloomy as Mr Bailey thinks. The head of aviation at Bristol Airport said today that the small hub expects to launch new cheap flights to Germany, eastern Europe and Scandinavia by next year, following a positive response from a recent three-day gathering of airport and airline bosses.
“The diverse range of businesses based in the region, combined with a wealth of tourist attractions, makes a compelling case for a network development managers assessing new route opportunities,” he declared.