Runway debate: An opportunity lost?
It's probably less than 100 days when the last aircraft will fly out of Filton Air Field thereby signalling the end of over 100 years of flight at the aerodrome.
It is therefore ironic that just as Filton closes, the debate regarding the lack of runway capacity in London has come to the forefront yet again, just as it did 12 months ago, but this time with a Tory Secretary of State, Justine Greening, threatening to resign (in fact she has now lost her job!) if a third runaway is built at Heathrow.
Without a third runaway at Heathrow, what would be London's loss could have been Bristol's gain with Filton capable of taking excess capacity away from the capital's airports. Unfortunately history now tells us that thanks to the negative campaigning from local MP Jack Lopresti, backed up by the lack of foresight from the Tory led South Gloucestershire Council, the significant business opportunity at Filton which would have been a wealth creator for the Bristol area, is not going to happen.
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If London's runway capacity problem presents a business opportunity for Bristol then readers may ask what about Lulsgate? Bristol International is great as a local/ regional airport but to become a truly International airport will mean an extension of the runway towards and across the A38. I expect there will be G+T's being spilt in the Conservative Clubs throughout North Somerset to even think about the idea of further expanding Lulsgate!
Studies have shown that Aviation and the spin off effects create jobs and positively help an area's economy. But with Greening opposing expansion at Heathrow and Lopresti at Filton (and potentially Fox at Lulsgate?) I doubt that the Tories agenda is really about job creation.The London runway problem is a significant opportunity for our area. We should encourage local politicians to have the courage and foresight to seize that opportunity.