North West businesses should be able to use Manchester Airport to create links with China

Nigel Evans today asked Nicky Morgan MP why Manchester Airport was not used more to facilitate new trade routes to China and Asia during questions to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the House of Commons today.

The exchange was as follows:

Mr Nigel Evans (Ribble Valley): 

Manchester airport is second only to Heathrow in terms of airport capacity, but it is operating at under half capacity yet Heathrow is full. Boris Johnson talked yesterday to the CBI about getting these new routes out to China and Asia, but instead of forcing people from the north-west to fly down to London in order to fly to China, why cannot we get people to come from London up to Manchester to fly out on all these new routes that we need?

Nicky Morgan: 

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his question. As I said, we will always look at any evidence that people want to send us. We want to encourage new links between the UK and China, and the Mayor of London made some interesting points. The point is that we have to change prices a lot in order to change passenger behaviour, and we would need to look at that further.

Later, speaking from Westminster, Mr Evans said:

“I do think that it is ridiculous for businesses and families from the north of England to have to travel to London in order to get to China.

“We all know that engaging with China and its economy can only be a good thing for British business and opening up trade routes with the ever increasing number of Chinese cities is imperative to take advantage of the opportunities.

“Manchester Airport is currently operating at less than 50% of its capacity and yet it is second only to Heathrow in terms of the number of air transport movements per annum.

“There is existing infrastructure at airports such as Manchester that means far from people going to London to fly to China, we should be sending traffic from Heathrow to Manchester in order to service the demand in the short term.”