I WOULD like to voice my thoughts on the proposed runway extension to Southampton Airport. I’m the director of Blink Web Ltd and I have a home office which is actually under the flight path of Southampton Airport at the top of Bishopstoke.

I have lived in Bishopstoke and the Eastleigh borough my entire life and enjoy seeing the planes and having such a local convenient airport. This has allowed me to travel for business purposes and holidays right on my doorstep. Yes you sometimes hear and notice the odd plane coming in to land but for me this is not an annoyance but a reminder of how lucky we are to have such a vital transport link on our doorsteps.

Let’s be honest, with the collapse of FlyBe it’s become clear that not many airlines operate planes small enough to use Southampton Airport effectively. The increase in runway length will make Southampton Airport more attractive to many airlines which will increase competition and ultimately lower prices not to mention give us access to new destinations further afield.

Whilst the airport may survive in the short term with no extension it’s become very clear from Southampton Airport that this will affect thousands of jobs and put the future in doubt into their viability as a regional airport. How long will they survive for if no airlines are attracted to the Airport? Eighty-nine per cent of Southampton Airport customers used FlyBe. Without competition coming in, that’s 89 per cent fewer customers for the airport. How will they survive on such a loss?

Not granting the extension will leave us airport users having to get up at 4am and travel up to Gatwick or Heathrow for those further afield Europe destinations along with the increased wait times for baggage handling, security, parking etc. Southampton Airport has always been a pleasant quick and efficient experience. I can cycle to the airport and be on my flight to a customer within the hour.

I listened carefully to the Eastleigh Local Area Committee meeting the other week and many times Bournemouth Airport was mentioned. Bournemouth Airport simply doesn’t have the same public transport links Southampton does.

I also heard the many concerns re climate change. With Southampton Airport taking up just a miniscule percentage of UK emissions, I think Eastleigh Council should instead focus more on the environmental impacts at a more local level, leaving the UK government to tackle the aviation industry as a whole UK-wide

Our councillors are voted in to reflect the views of the local residents. Sixty per cent of respondents were for the runway extension. That is a landslide in political terms and I urge the council to support the extension and represent your constituents.

Shane Phillips

Director, Blinkweb