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“No future” for UK's smallest airports

16 May 2011 by BusinessTraveller

There is “no doubt” that the UK’s smallest airports will be forced to close, according to Manchester Airport Group’s (MAG) Jonathan Bailey.

The airport group is questioning the role of Britain’s small regional airports, including its own, he told delegates attending the Guild of Travel Management’s (GTMC) annual overseas conference at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr in Abu Dhabi.

Bailey, MAG’s group external affairs director, said: “I can honestly say to you that I don’t see a future for the smallest airports in the UK. Plymouth is closing. There’s absolutely no doubt that other airports will need to close.”

When asked about the future for small airports, he said: “That is a good question and because we own a couple of those, it is something we have been asking ourselves.”

Bailey said that the costs involved in running an airport are making it difficult for the smallest airports to survive. He cited policing costs, security costs and business rates as among the most crippling.

MAG owns and operates Manchester, East Midlands, Bournemouth and Humberside airports. Bailey said he “wouldn’t give a categorical no” that MAG won’t close “some of the smaller airports”.

“That is sad,” he said, “but I think it’s just about the cost of making those businesses operate.”

Report by Sara Turner

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