In a report out today, it’s claimed that HS2 would mean that Birmingham airport could add an extra 750,000 extra passengers to Birmingham airport. The report was commissioned by Birmingham airport, who will get an HS2 station close by.
However, when the Conservatives first proposed high speed rail, it was to reduce the number of flights and stop airport expansion. Modal shift was originally supposed to mean that 8% of HS2 passengers would have originally travelled by air, whereas the latest case assumes that only 1% of passengers choose HS2 rather than flying.
What’s more the risk always was that reducing the numbers of domestic flights due to high speed rail meant the freed up slots would be used for international flights.
The Birmingham report, seems to bear that out:
p10 “The largest share of passenger traffic comes from international shorthaul passengers but the Airport also provides important domestic connectivity and is one of the few airports in the UK with significant numbers of long haul passengers….”
p34 “…HS2 could enable Birmingham to capture around 750,000 additional passengers or around 8% of its current passenger throughput by enlarging its catchment area. “
It’s not entirely clear whether these extra fliers would be flying from Birmingham rather than elsewhere, or whether they would be new passengers. It is clear though that Birmingham airport aren’t worried that HS2 will reduce the number of people flying.