Exeter Airport has become the latest UK hub to polarise opinion, with expansion plans sparking both strong support and a resistant opposition movement.
Plans have now been revealed for a £124 million investment programme, which would see the south-west airport treble its capacity by 2030 and become one of the UK’s major aviation players. However, as with plans to increase capacity at Heathrow Airport with a third runway, a strong opposition movement has formed, with AirportWatch South West – including Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the RSPB and The Woodland Trust – this week taking its concerns to Westminster.
Plans to boost Exeter’s capacity are said to be contingent on neighbouring Plymouth Airport staging limited growth over coming years, with the hub claiming that expansion would allow it to meet passenger demand and become a strong regional hub.
Airport deputy managing director, Jamie Christon, said: "Our customers’ feedback demonstrates how important Exeter Airport is for the people of Devon and Cornwall as the hub for travel."
Regional hubs across the UK have recently registered rapid growth, with Exeter Airport predicting passenger numbers to grow from one million per year to reach 1.9 million passengers by 2015, as air travellers outside the capital seek to avoid negotiating London in order to hit the skies.