We believe Leeds Bradford Airport is a Yorkshire success story and that success is very much down to the airports management team and the support they receive from the owning Councils. When we first considered launching Jet2.com, we spent a great deal of time assessing various airports throughout Europe in the search for our first base. We chose Leeds Bradford because it was already a growing regional airport, with a great catchment area and above all a management team, led by Ed Anderson, who very much wanted to support and encourage airlines to start services and base aircraft at their airport.
Three years after the launch of Jet2.com, we now offer frequent services to 18 destinations, from our new, dedicated, check-in facility and we will shortly be announcing more, including Milan. Other airlines, such as British Midland, Eastern Airways and Air South West, also continue to grow at Leeds Bradford and the Airport is now able to offer the people of Yorkshire over 50 business and leisure destinations that many other regional airports would relish.
At Jet2.com, we think the airport's in pretty good shape and has the facilities to rival any other regional airport in Europe. Whats needed to encourage airlines to launch further services is not only investment in the airport itself, but investment in promoting the region. Whilst flights to Alicante or Malaga can be operated successfully with UK based passengers, services to destinations in countries such as Germany or Scandinavia are very much reliant on bringing an equal number of overseas passengers to the UK.
If the people of Yorkshire want more air services, then theres a definite need to raise the national and international profile of the region. New initiatives such as Marketing Leeds and Bradford Centre Regeneration are a start, but much more needs to be done, and quickly, if we are to catch up with other well established agencies such as Marketing Birmingham, Marketing Manchester and One NorthEast who have been successfully raising the profile of other UK regions.
Lets stop knocking Leeds Bradford and celebrate it for what it is, a great regional airport.
When the railways were privatised what did the Government want to achieve from private investment, improved stations or improved services? In this case the station definitely has everything it needs to support new services, we now need to ensure theres sufficient demand to sustain them.
Whatever the future ownership of the airport may be, lets not waste our energy on debating what private investment may or may not bring, lets use all our energy in shouting about Yorkshire and encouraging people to fly here! This is the real basis for expansion.