COUNCIL bosses have pledged a major new package of support to help Leeds Bradford International Airport (LBIA) become the international travel capital of the North.
According to official Government figures, LBIA is set to more than double its passenger numbers in the next decade and a half, and it could triple those numbers by 2050.
And as airport bosses push ahead with a major development masterplan, Leeds City Council leaders have launched their own drive to help maximise that potential. The council’s cabinet will next week rubber-stamp a new policy push, which promises to help grow the airport’s route network, create better local and regional transport links, implement a clear land-use strategy and create jobs.
The aim is to cement a stronger partnership between the council and the airport, and to officially recognise what a “huge asset” for Leeds it is.
LBIA is currently used by 3.3m passengers a year. However figures show it is among the fastest growing airports in the country, growing at TWICE the rate of Heathrow and FOUR times the rate of Gatwick in the past five years.
Meanwhile biggest Northern rival Manchester has suffered a passenger decline of almost two per cent in the same period, and other regional airports are languishing way behind.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has forecast that LBIA could be serving 7.3 million people by 2030 and more than nine million passengers per year by 2050.
Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’S executive board member for transport and the economy, said: “The airport is a huge asset for Leeds and the wider city region, and has real potential for growth.
“As a council we are keen to work with the airport to help facilitate plans for growth, and in turn ensure the benefits are realised widely across the region in regards to jobs and its input into our city’s economy.
“To ensure the airport is able grow to its true potential, the council need to adopt a clear and consistent approach in moving forward and helping to facilitate the expansion of the airport.”