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Birmingham solves Heathrow's capacity problem

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Birmingham solves Heathrow's capacity problem

Old 7th Jun 2012, 10:09
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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Birmingham may well be at the centre of the UK in overall population number terms.

However, the centre of the people who actually buy air tickets is very firmly based in London and the South East.

And the centre of where the people who are coming INBOUND to the UK, which is 50% of total demand, want to go to is most certainly there. How many of those from, say, Russia, with its multiple daily flights into the UK, want to go to Birmingham ? Zilch.

Maybe Birmingham can go off instead and come up with huge, taxpayer-funded plans to become the new centre of the UK sea fishing industry.
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Old 7th Jun 2012, 10:32
  #22 (permalink)  

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WHBM: Maybe Birmingham can go off instead and come up with huge, taxpayer-funded plans to become the new centre of the UK sea fishing industry.
That would involve closing down the old Birmingham, and building a new Birmingham on an island in the Thames estuary.
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Old 7th Jun 2012, 11:29
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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WHBM

Not disputing any of what you say, the aviation centre of the UK is very much in the south east, what I am saying is that for certain areas of London BHX is the most convenient airport to get too. It's far easier to get to Brum for anyone that lives on or near the northern line than it is to get to heathrow. Why shouldn't BHX Market itself to these potential customers?
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Old 7th Jun 2012, 12:15
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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Re BHX Location

Speaking from direct experence - Euston to Birmingham Intl (A confusing Name) is very convienent - Relatives of mine have used the service withot probs so its practicle.

The show stopper is the frequency of services from BHX - Once a say vis say 5 or 6 flights to a given desenation. Its literally Catch 22.

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Old 7th Jun 2012, 12:40
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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Virgin Trains could work with BHX to offer some sort of product whereby if your incoming flight was delayed (or arrived early) your advance purchase train ticket would be valid on an alternative train and maybe charge a £1 or £2 premium for this insurance, (call it what you will).
They already do, but it is informal. I had it the other way round back in Jan - arrived at LHR, 45 mins late but I'd allowed an hour margin + 60 mins to get bag + another 60 to get to Euston. I asked the tm what if I'd missed the train.

He said - bring evidence of flight delay (they can look up too if they are in helpful mood) - or just snap arrivals board - and they will usually let you on, at their discretion.

Afaik, Northern Rail have an official policy.

It is doable, problem comes if you had a cheapy ticket, then a delay moved you into the peak area, they might not like that.

One cannot argue with the basic principle that BHX is better positioned than LHR to be the country’s major hub. It is after all geographically central - simple as that.
One can and one will!

Centre of landmass and centre of fare yield are two entirely different concepts - the former (for England) being in Meriden, the latter no doubt being somewhere around Gerrard's Cross.

We need to get rid of this idea that the UK is "London centric", or that Brum is somehow losing out from government policy.

It is simple historical and geographical reality - London evolved as the biggest city, then it became a self-feeding circle. Paris is the same. Germany in this discussion is, frankly, utterly irrelevant - by all means compare Germany with the US, but not with us.

Various Govt ministers have been to BHX recently saying it is well placed for expansion.
So what! They have bought the sales pitch - take one grossly expensive high speed rail line, add in one mid table regional airport, and hey presto, you have London's 8th airport, all on a plate!

Given the need to claw back the investment, why would the HS2 operator want to be giving away through tickets to BHX at a knock-down price? The route won't even open until 5am, no good for the first wave!

Why would a long haul airline want to use an airport MOL hasn't even dreamed of calling London NW? If they can't get into LHR, they will settle for Gatters - and MOL will then storm off in a huff to wherever he can go (STN, LTN, SEN, MSE - wherever).

BHX will pick up a few crumbs from the London table. No more.

Right now they should forget about the fantasy, and focus on all those un-served European capital cities!
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Old 7th Jun 2012, 13:20
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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I note that the following routes are not currently served at Birmingham or will close by September when bmibaby is wound down. Anyone like to suggest when they will be served ?

Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes
Cologne
Bologna, Naples
Bilbao, Seville, Valencia
Lisbon, Porto
Prague
Krakow, Warsaw, Wroclaw
Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn
Gothenburg, Helsinki, Oslo
Basel
Salzburg, Vienna
Bucharest
Sofia
Belgrade, Zagreb
Kiev, Moscow, St Petersburg

Last edited by davidjohnson6; 7th Jun 2012 at 13:45.
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Old 7th Jun 2012, 13:33
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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FRA is still the only major hub in Germany, MUC and DUS (the richest German cities incidentally!) are focus cities for LH like BHX, MAN and GLA were for BA back in the day.
I disagree actually about Munich. It's very much LH's second hub, with a large dedicated terminal for them and their Star partners. Passengers heading from, say, India to the US often have the choice of MUC as a transit point.

There's a large range of short, medium and long haul destinations served by anything from a CRJ to an A346 - you're not telling me that routes like Munich to Sao Paulo, Mexico City, Busan or Jakarta are mainly O&D services! It can't really be compared to BA's bases in the regions.

Germany aren't entirely spot on as Germany has no equivalent of London. Take a breath, no, it does not.
No, but it does have a very similar population density to the UK, which makes Germany quite a valid comparison in my view. Just because it doesn't have an equivalent of London, doesn't mean it can be dismissed. The reason why LH is able to operate at so many of the key airports could be that economic activity is more evenly spread, but that's a debate for somewhere else and won't necessarily suit the perspective of Londoners.

Does any other country in Europe have quite so many airports with long haul as we do? Look at Emirates, they serve GLA, NCL, MAN, BHX, LHR and LGW in the UK and DUB across the sea, that's SEVEN airports in the market. This does not happen in any other European country. (They only serve ~33 airports in Europe btw)
Yes, there are a long haul services from roughly the same number airports in France and Germany - may I point out that DUB does not count. France has at least 7 airports with long haul due to overseas departements and Germany has MUC, FRA, DUS, TXL/SXF (BER), HAM and STR with some sort of long haul service.

To me, that demonstrates demand from the UK regions. This is demand which is not catered for by BA/VS via LHR and has been soaked up by EK (along with AF-KLM and LH/LX). Of course when you talk about long haul, for a couple of those airports it's really just a spoke to Dubai (plus a few North American routes) though. Crucial here has been VFR and touristic traffic to Australasia, VFR and business traffic to India/Pakistan, plus business and touristic traffic to the Far East.

Last edited by EuroWings; 7th Jun 2012 at 14:34.
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Old 7th Jun 2012, 14:09
  #28 (permalink)  
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The Secretary of State for Transport, Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, visited Birmingham Airport today to learn more about the huge capacity that is available immediately, and how Birmingham Airport can take pressure off creaking South East airports.
To be fair to JG, the above comes from a BHX Airport press release, not one from the DfT, so there's still some hope that the Department hasn't swallowed the sales pitch.

Yes, Birmingham will expand by gradually adding destinations, routes and airlines as time goes by, but to suggest that this will have any more than a negligible effect on demand/capacity in the southeast is nonsense.
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Old 7th Jun 2012, 14:34
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Upbeat TV Report

The was a quite upbeat report on BBC "Midlands Today" yesterday, featuring the new control tower, and improvements on the ground, together with comment (and pictures) showing the start of the work to divert the A44 (?) in the area where the runway will be extended. Roadworks this year, runway work next year.
BBC Anchorman Nick tried his best to put the "environmental" case as a spoiler, but overall it showed BHX in a positive light.
Report also showed one of a team of people the airport have out on the road trying to actively "sell" BHX to existing and potential operators/customers.

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Last edited by EGCA; 7th Jun 2012 at 14:36.
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Old 7th Jun 2012, 14:38
  #30 (permalink)  
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I have lived near the Euston~Brum train line for 25+ years. I can get to Watford Junction for fast trains and the other stops for the slower ones. In the past, I have used it for going to trade shows at the NDC. Also to other points North.

For some years, I used to cross-check the equation:
  • Time to reach terminal
  • Cost to reach terminal (rail, coach, road+park)
  • Cost of flight
  • Return
For these in order of proximity to my dwelling:
LTN; LHR; STN; BHX; LGW.

After three or so years I stopped checking BHX because the cost/time NEVER worked in their favour. I have not checked recently but have no incentive to as it was not good before and I have so many airports to choose from.

By the way, IF there was to be such a thing as close LHR, then BHX might be of more interest as traipsing across to the Estury would be very time consuming - even if there were such a thing as Crossrail going to there from Euston.
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Old 7th Jun 2012, 17:33
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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Quote: "I have lived near the Euston~Brum train line for 25+ years. I can get to Watford Junction for fast trains and the other stops for the slower ones. In the past, I have used it for going to trade shows at the NDC. Also to other points North.

For some years, I used to cross-check the equation:
  • Time to reach terminal
  • Cost to reach terminal (rail, coach, road+park)
  • Cost of flight
  • Return
For these in order of proximity to my dwelling:
LTN; LHR; STN; BHX; LGW.

After three or so years I stopped checking BHX because the cost/time NEVER worked in their favour. I have not checked recently but have no incentive to as it was not good before and I have so many airports to choose from. "

That is very significant, PAXboy, if a fast one-stop rail service to BHX doesn't work for you ex-Watford Junction, it's not going pull in many south east-based pax who have the long additional journey to Watford Junction or London-Euston! Suspect it's also expensive on the WCML.

"By the way, IF there was to be such a thing as close LHR, then BHX might be of more interest as traipsing across to the Estury would be very time consuming - even if there were such a thing as Crossrail going to there from Euston."

Yes, in such a scenario, BHX would be easier than somehere in the estuary, but neither can be described as "convenient" for most. It could drive many pax into the arms of KL ex-their local airport.

Last edited by Fairdealfrank; 7th Jun 2012 at 17:35.
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Old 7th Jun 2012, 18:05
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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Up until 2008 Virgin used to provide an excellent non stop coach service from Watford Jnct to Heathrow and back at a very reasonable price. I would catch a train from Birmingham New Street and arrive at LHR within 2 hours.

Since then a stopping bus service has put pay to that! It's about a 3 hour connection time now. National Express provide a coach service from LHR to BHX airport, but it usually goes around the houses and takes up to 3 hours, so there is no real incentive for LHR passengers fly from BHX these days, or reverse. Nowadays the cheaper option is to fly via AMS, FRA or CDG for long haul flights so the pain of APD is less, rather than commute to LHR and pay full whack!
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Old 7th Jun 2012, 20:43
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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Quote: "Does any other country in Europe have quite so many airports with long haul as we do? Look at Emirates, they serve GLA, NCL, MAN, BHX, LHR and LGW in the UK and DUB across the sea, that's SEVEN airports in the market. This does not happen in any other European country. (They only serve ~33 airports in Europe btw)"

DUB accross the sea is another country, but BFS isn't!

Don't forget BRS and BFS with transatlantic connections to EWR, LCY with transatlantic connections to JFK, ABZ with a link to GYD, and LBA with links to ISB and LHE. Limited longhaul, admittedly, but it deserves to be counted. Then there are several airports with longhaul charter/holiday flights to be considered as well.

As for the idea of "too many" airports in the UK, the "market" will decide. The UK is almost unique worldwide in having the majority of airports as completely privately-owned businesses.

Quote: "Yes, there are a long haul services from roughly the same number airports in France and Germany - may I point out that DUB does not count. France has at least 7 airports with long haul due to overseas departements and Germany has MUC, FRA, DUS, TXL/SXF (BER), HAM and STR with some sort of long haul service."

Long haul to "overseas departements" is not a good comparison. The word "departement" is French for "county", so the British equivelant are Antrim, Down, etc., the only difference is the distance.

Flights between ORY and the "departements outre-mer" (overseas counties) are domestic flights. They are very long domestic flights admittedly, but domestic flights nonetheless, in much the same way as DME/SVO/VKO-VVO in the Russian Federation.

Last edited by Fairdealfrank; 7th Jun 2012 at 20:47.
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Old 7th Jun 2012, 21:55
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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I note that the following routes are not currently served at Birmingham or
will close by September when bmibaby is wound down. Anyone like to suggest when
they will be served ?
davidjohnson you have hit the nail on the head here - although I am not sure about the viability of some of the destinations you have mentioned the point is BHX needs to get its short haul network in order first and forget for the moment these ridiculous pretentions of grandeur about being an alternative to LHR for long haul services. I have lost count of the number of times I have had to fly from LPL, MAN, LHR and EMA to a European city as there simply were no flights available from BHX with suitable timings and/or at a non eye wateringly high price.

Yes ambition is good but healthy ambition and IMO BHX needs to regain the years of ground lost to other airports in terms of European flights having been so late in embracing the original loco revolution snd regenerate its stagnant long haul network - at one point in addition to EWR, DXB and ASB there were additionally services to DEL, ATQ, ORD, LHE, KHI and TAS, all now long gone. Progress to be fair has been made in short haul this year with LH, SK and ZB all adding a number of lost city destinations which is encouraging.

The runway extension may well attract a few more long haul charters and MAYBE a Far Eastern service at a push but taking over from LHR, not yet if ever. And lets face it there is absolutely no certainty that HS2 will get built, if it ever does its bound to be late opening and a watered down version of what was originally proposed.
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Old 7th Jun 2012, 22:05
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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Long haul to "overseas departements" is not a good comparison. The word "departement" is French for "county", so the British equivelant are Antrim, Down, etc., the only difference is the distance.

Flights between ORY and the "departements outre-mer" (overseas counties) are domestic flights. They are very long domestic flights admittedly, but domestic flights nonetheless, in much the same way as DME/SVO/VKO-VVO in the Russian Federation.
I am fully aware of why these services exist. I never mentioned international, just that France had long haul services from their regions. It was just in response to the idea that the UK had more long haul services from the regions than anywhere else in Europe. There are often reasons why these services exist and there is almost certainly a reason why EK can fill so many flights from the UK regions to Dubai; onward connections to markets like India and Australia where there are close ties to the UK play a huge role. Similar to the reason why PIA can run a direct flight from Leeds Bradford to Islamabad; close ties due to historical immigration. There is an (albeit lose) parallel in this way to the numerous services to the French departements from their regions (even if I didn't set out to make a link!). You could go around each country in Europe and look at how these historical links have fostered (what may at first glance appear unusual) short and long haul routes.

Last edited by EuroWings; 7th Jun 2012 at 22:16.
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Old 7th Jun 2012, 22:45
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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And lets face it there is absolutely no certainty that HS2 will get built, if it ever does its bound to be late opening and a watered down version of what was originally proposed.
Not sure how you can water down a project which is already incredibly unimaginative when compared with European counterparts, despite being so expensive at the same time!

A fast (2 hour max) link from the Scottish Central belt right to the door of BHX, taking in Tyneside, the Yorkshires and Manverpool might then give BHX a big theoretical advantage, but this isn't on the cards any time soon.
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Old 8th Jun 2012, 00:05
  #37 (permalink)  
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Probably one of the reasons that we have long haul from a number of regionals and euro connections from many more - is the lack of a high speed rail service. If there were dedicated express services to deliver the pax? But it will never happen. The piecemeal and fudge approach of the entire post-war era will ensure this.

Thanks fairdealfrank, it always surprised me the BHX did not work out financially in the 1990s and by the 2000s I just didn't bother. Next time I'm travelling, I'll have another look but one of the simple problems can be - the cost of a taxi to the station. That might be £7 or £10 each way and that can tip the balance. Obviously, if you have friends/family that can drop you, that falls away.

The other problem that weighs against public transport as opposed to just driving to the airport, is the number of times you have to transfer the cases. If you are going 'light' for a summer break, it's not an issue but when I take my periodic three weeks in South Africa, it's another matter.

Public means: Out of dwelling to taxi (or bus); to station; to train; possible transfer (when I go Watford to LGW via Clapham Junction most of the through trains have been stopped!); then to terminal; then to weighing. I have found on some trips, that my shoulders ache from the frequent transfers of cases on and off platforms/trains/car boots, on and off trolleys, pushing and pulling of trolleys with bad wheels.

I plan to drive to the drop off and leave my lady with the cases on a trolley to go inside and check the lie of the land - whilst I park up. It's a great system! By the time I get back to the terminal, she has guided me in by mobile and off we go.

Even for those of us in middle age, public transport with two 23kg cases and two cabin bags (and duty free at the other end) is not straightforward.
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Old 8th Jun 2012, 06:16
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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I note that the following routes are not currently served at Birmingham or will close by September when bmibaby is wound down. Anyone like to suggest when they will be served ?

Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes
Cologne
Bologna, Naples
Bilbao, Seville, Valencia
Lisbon, Porto
Prague
Krakow, Warsaw, Wroclaw
BHX needs to get its short haul network in order first
I think where most people here go wrong is that an airport is not in charge of it's destiny: it's location, history and airlines that decide it's fate... but ultimately fare paying pax

Do you expect that the CEO of BHX can walk into an airlines boardroom and announce: "all right chaps, I want you to fly to my airport 3 times a day instead of 2, at better times and by the way open a route to bordeaux I just bought a house there". It is the fare paying public that votes whether a routte is succesful, not the airlines and not the airports...

Last edited by No RYR for me; 8th Jun 2012 at 06:18.
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Old 8th Jun 2012, 08:21
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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No RYR for me

I think where most people here go wrong is that an airport is not in charge of it's destiny: it's location, history and airlines that decide it's fate... but ultimately fare paying pax
I disagree. BHX is supposed then to just sit back and wait for airlines to come to them? Long Haul destinations will automatically appear at BHX just because the runway has been extended? And how exactly do the fare paying public decide its fate in terms of routes served? It is equally as absurd as suggesting that the BHX CEO would go to an airline and beg for a route to be started that pax would go knocking on an airports door and ask for flights to a destination they would like to go to because they have a house there. Pax will only travel on it once a route is provided by the airport and airlines working togather to research viability/profitability: if sufficient numbers of pax do not materialise, then of course that route will not survive. So, once a route is launched, yes pax voting with their feet do decide its fate, but pax do not have a direct influence as you suggest on getting that route started in the first place. That is upto airlines and BHX working constructively together.

And of course I don't expect the BHX CEO to go into an airline boardroom and request that a particular route is served - I would rather hope that instead it would be the BHX route development team and that they would be going into the airlines sales, marketing and route development rooms to determine a routes potential viability. Which I still believe will be a tall order in developing long haul routes to the degree that BHX will become a viable alternative hub to LHR
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Old 8th Jun 2012, 09:10
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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Gayfriendly;

I think it is probably 75% airlines decision where they want to fly first,and 25% that an airport can add influence.

Need to bare in mind that most airports in the UK already offer new airlines or routes,really good deals to start, including BHX..free first year, reduced charges second then up to full price after a few years..so there is little extra they can offer on top to entice.

If an airline has little interest in operating a route,doesn't matter how hard route development teams work it will make little difference.

That is the problem with those on this forum that say BHX should abandon its long haul hopes and just stick to short hall targets.There are only a small number of short hauls left not served from BHX that airlines would say are viable for them.

Nigel
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