Exeter Airport draft master plan considered by committee

PUBLISHED: 10:11 19 August 2008 | UPDATED: 22:12 15 June 2010

DEVON County Council s Environment, Economy and Culture Scrutiny Committee have looked in detail at Exeter International Airport s draft master plan.

DEVON County Council's Environment, Economy and Culture Scrutiny Committee have looked in detail at Exeter International Airport's draft master plan.

The committee had the opportunity to discuss the plan with Clive Coleman from the airport owners Regional and City Airports, and Andrew Strong, Chief Operating Officer for Flybe.

As part of its vision for future development set out in the draft document, Exeter International Airport forecasts that passenger figures will increase from just over one million in 2007, to 1.9 million by 2015 and 3.375 million by 2030. It has also set itself a target of achieving carbon neutrality in its ground operations by 2015.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Chairman of the Environment, Economy and Culture Scrutiny Committee, said: "It was a positive meeting and we welcomed the opportunity to have some input into the consultation of the draft master plan while asking searching questions. The airport is vital to the local economy so it's important that it's a good neighbour and engages with the local community to get local people on board. One of the biggest concerns is the night flight issue and we hope there will be a recommendation for a limit on those flights."

Councillor Gordon Hook, Vice Chairman of the Environment, Economy and Culture Scrutiny Committee, said: "It's absolutely right that people are concerned about local transport links but we also have to look at the global impact. As a society we have to challenge the concept of ongoing expansion."

The direct number of jobs at Exeter International Airport is expected to rise from the current figure of 1,400 to around 3,500 by 2030. The airport's contribution to the local economy is estimated to grow from £105 million in 2007 to £264 million by 2030. Flybe is also keen to develop an academy to provide career training opportunities for those interested in a career as pilots, engineers or cabin crew.

Clive Coleman, Commercial and Development Director for Regional and City Airports, said: "Exeter Airport is the principle gateway to Devon and Cornwall and our objectives are to improve affordable access while making sure they are sustainable. The airport development is closely linked to the East of Exeter growth point and we're very clear we need to improve integration of public transport. We see the development of services at Exeter will avoid the need for long car journeys to other airports."

Andrew Strong, Chief Operating Officer for Flybe, said: "If there is a demand for air travel to be met, as a responsible airline we have to deliver the best solution we can for the environment. We have invested in the most environmentally friendly aircraft with the lowest fuel burn. We currently have Europe's largest maintenance facility at Exeter and with the prospect of the new Training Academy we will be able to offer more career opportunities in aviation."

Public consultation is currently underway on the draft until 30 September, and Exeter International Airport will consider comments for the adopted master plan, which will be published by the end of the year.

A report of the Scrutiny Committee meeting will go before Devon County Council's Executive on 2 September.

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