Stansted airport's arguments for growth

The view from Stansted - by senior press officer MARK DAVISON

The view from Stansted - by senior press officer MARK DAVISON

Currently nearly 24 million people pass through Stansted each year on business, to visit friends and family or to take a holiday.

Local Suffolk people clearly recognise the value and convenience of Stansted as around 660,000 journeys to and from the county were made in 2005 - more than at any other UK airport.

The desire to fly is the essential reason we must plan ahead to meet the demands of a growing economy, and in a world where people can, and will want to, travel more for business and leisure.

The sustainable expansion of Stansted is vital if we are to avoid severely restricting our ability to travel and to enable the UK, and the East of England region, to compete and win in an increasingly global market place.

Excellent air links - Stansted already serves 160 destinations worldwide - provide a critical economic contribution and can influence and promote business location decisions; foreign investment; international trade; and international tourism.

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Ipswich sits at the heart of one of Europe's most dynamic and thriving Hi-Tech business corridors. Its future ambition is to become a world centre in this field, and the location of choice for inward investment.

Technology and computing, along with financial and banking services, R&D and biotechnology rely on air travel and the future success of these sectors will be underpinned by Stansted's growth.

Four million business passenger use Stansted each year, and it's the second most popular airport for UK business passengers flying to international destinations.

That's why our expansion plans have already won the backing of business leaders and business organisations like the IOD, CBI and numerous Chambers of Commerce.

They recognise, as we do, that a way can be found to accommodate growth in air travel without sacrificing the environment.

Stansted is also the second highest port of entry for foreign visitors to the UK - the sixth largest international tourist destination in the world - and expansion on the existing single runway will boost the number of foreign leisure passengers to the UK by 1.9 million a year.

Increasing passenger numbers by 10 million a year will generate large economic benefits, in the region of £2.9 billion, but this is not growth at any cost.

The hugely important issue of climate change is a global problem requiring international action. BAA is helping to tackle the challenge by taking the lead in the air transport industry through our active support for the inclusion of aviation in the EU emissions trading scheme, as suggested in the recent Stern Review.

We see this as the best means of ensuring that aviation pays its way and meets its full environmental costs.

We believe that it is possible to be 'green' and grow, and in doing so serve the best interests of the economy and the millions of people who enjoy and value access to so many exciting places around the world from their local international airport.

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